The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
November 23, 1999

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Issue - 50

ISSN: 1538-3202

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In this decision from Illinois, the Judge tells the story of a 5 year old boy with autism:

"T.H. has just celebrated his fifth birthday. Over the past two and half years, he has cleared some important cognitive, linguistic, and behavioral milestones despite the autism which makes it difficult for him to focus his attention on the task at hand. There can be no doubt that the informed and dedicated involvement of T.’s parents has been instrumental in securing for T. a productive educational environment. But "proof that loving parents can craft a better program than a state offers does not, alone, entitle them to prevail under the [Individuals with Disabilities Education] Act."

In this decision, the Court addresses placement decisions, methodology disputes, individualization, and educational benefit.

Why did the Court find that the IEP development process was "dysfunctional"?

Why do IEP teams need creativity and dedication?

Why did the Judge say, "The problem with this approach is that it required T’s parents to gamble with his future"?

How did the Judge analyze educational benefit, the "floor" of opportunity, and how much progress is enough?

Read this excellent decision in "T. H. v. Palatine"

We’re pleased to see that in his discussion of reimbursement, the Judge heavily on "Florence County School District IV v. Shannon Carter."

Check out the Legal News

2. News Flash! IDEA Compliance Report Delayed

Last month, we asked "Did Your state Pass IDEA Compliance Test?"

We explained that your state Department of Education has many responsibilities under IDEA. The state Department of Education is responsible for supervising local school districts.

Your state education department should have a comprehensive system of personnel development that is designed to ensure that there is an adequate supply of properly trained teachers.

Your state should have policies and procedures that ensure that all children with disabilities receive a free appropriate education.

Your state is responsible for implementing a comprehensive Child Find Program where all children with disabilities (including children who attend private schools) are identified, located and evaluated.

Did your state pass the IDEA Compliance Test? Probably not.

The National Council on Disability found that:

"Based on the U.S. Department of Education's monitoring of state compliance with IDEA from 1994 to 1998, 90 percent of states and territories fail to adequately supervise local education agencies’ education of students with disabilities."

On November 20, 1999, we received an update about the IDEA Compliance Report.

3. News From The Advocates Bookstore

Every week, we receive dozens of letters from parents, teachers, and others asking how they can tactics and strategy to get better services for children with disabilities.

To address some of your questions, we added a Tactics and Strategy section to the Advocate’s Bookstore.

If you are stumped about how to write letters to the school, check out EVERYDAY LETTERS FOR BUSY PEOPLE.

In EVERYDAY LETTERS, you learn how to write letters that get action, build relationships, and get your point across. The book includes hundreds of sample letters that you can use or adapt to your situation.

If you dread another frustrating IEP meeting, check out GETTING IT DONE: HOW TO LEAD WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN CHARGE.

For these and other books, go to the NEW Tactics and Strategy section at


While you’re at the Advocate’s Bookstore, check out the new books in the Legal section


The "front door" of the bookstore is at


4. West Virginia -- You Made Our Day!

Today a letter containing a large check and nothing else arrived at the office. Our office manager placed phone call to the sender. A West Virginia advocacy group had just returned from a conference where they saw WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW.

When this group got home, they sent a check so each staff member could have a copy of WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW. This story made our day!

Thanks again to all of you who ordered WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW.

For those who missed the news releases about the book, here is the link to the information page. Follow this link to read early reviews. You can also order on our secure online store.

5. An Update on Wrightslaw Projects


Now that WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW is launched, we’re working on two books. One book is about IEPs. The other book, FROM EMOTIONS TO ADVOCACY, teaches parents how to use tactics and strategy to get better services for children with disabilities.

When we sent WRIGHTSLAW to the printer, newsletter subscribers received a pre-publication discount by placing their order before a specific date. We will offer pre-publication discounts on our subsequent books to subscribers.


We are gearing up to use "print on demand" technology. With POD, we can print short runs of books and other publications "in house." This will allow us to tailor publications to specific interests, while keep the cost of our publications low. We’ll keep you posted about this exciting new technology.


The Advocacy Pak is being completely revised. Stay tuned for more about the Advocacy Pak soon!


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Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2019, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
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Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
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Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
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