The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
June 13, 2000

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1. Wrightslaw Game Plans 

During the past few months, we’ve struggled with email overload and asked these questions: 

* How can we answer your most pressing questions?

* How can we make the best use of our time and resources? 

As we reviewed hundreds of emails, we saw patterns in your questions. Using this information as our guide, we have written WRIGHTSLAW GAME PLANS to answer your “Frequently Asked Questions.” 

In February, we published the 

Wrightslaw Game Plan: Good IEP Goals & Objectives 

In April, we published Wrightslaw Game Plan: How to Deal with Eligibility Disputes

In May, we published the Special IEP Issue of The Special Ed Advocate newsletter that included an IEP GAME PLAN:

Today, we published the Wrightslaw: Game Plan: Help for New Parents

2. Freeware From Wrightslaw - Pass it On!

It takes many hours to pull together the information for each issue of The Special Ed Advocate newsletter. We want to make this information is available to everyone, including people who haven’t yet found our site. We need your help. 

When you read an article or newsletter that is helpful to you, ask yourself a question: “Do I know other people who could benefit from this information?” Another parent? My child’s teacher? Our director of special ed? My school board member? My Member of Congress? 

All Wrightslaw resources - articles, newsletters, letters, cases, and game plans - are free, so PASS THEM ON! 

3. Charles Writes, “All of This is New– We're Overwhelmed. Where Do We Start?”  

“My son Daniel is 8 years old and in the second grade. After several evaluations, he was diagnosed with learning disabilities and ADHD. Daniel has an IEP. He is in a self- contained reading class because he cannot read or spell.” 

“Although Daniel has been receiving special education services for a year and a half, his progress is minimal at best. We shared our concerns with the school and asked for additional services. We are not optimistic.” 

“All of this is new to us (even the Internet). A friend told us about your site – this is why I’m writing you. What information should I read to become a better advocate for Daniel?” 

Charles speaks for many parents who have questions about special education. 

4. Wrightslaw Game Plan For New Parents

There’s an old saying, "Prior planning prevents problems." This is especially true for parents who want to ensure that their child gets effective, appropriate special education services. 

As a parent, you negotiate with the school for services. To be a successful negotiator, you must understand the system and how it works. Many parents don’t realize that school systems are bureaucracies. Parents often don’t know how important decisions are made - or by whom. 

Until now, parents have been barred from effective advocacy by lack of information and isolation. The Internet is changing the status quo. Parents who are knowledgeable about their children’s rights (and their own rights and responsibilities) and know how to use tactics and strategies are far more likely to succeed. 

If you are a “new parent,” this Game Plan will help you get started. 



As a new parent, you need to go through a period of self-study. Your first step is to download, print, and read these articles from our ADVOCACY LIBRARY:

1. “Crisis! Emergency! HELP!” will help you devise short-term solutions and do long range planning. 

2. From Emotions to Advocacy: The Parents’ Journey helps parents understand their emotions and how to use emotions as a source of energy and strength. 

3. “Your Child Has School Problems: Whose Fault Is It?” teaches you about “school culture” and how this hidden factor affects educational decision-making.

4. “The Art of Writing Letters” will teach you how to write letters that get results, and how to avoid common pitfalls. 

5. “Understanding Tests and Measurements for the Parent, Advocate and Attorney” teaches you how to measure your child’s progress in special education.

5. “Your Child's IEP: Practical and Legal Guidance for Parents and Advocates” teaches you about the legal requirements for your child’s IEP and how to develop good IEPs. 

Here is a link to the Advocacy Library where you’ll find dozens of articles that will help you become a more effective advocate for your son.

* * * * * * * * *


Go to our Law Library and download the IDEA Statute that includes Pete's commentary. The link to the statute section of the LAW LIBRARY is:


Contact your State Department of Education – ask them to send you ALL their publications about special education.

Contact your state Protection and Advocacy Agency – ask them to send you ALL their publications about special education.

* * * * * * * * *


* Wrightslaw: Tactics & Strategy Manual
In the beginning, special education is overwhelming to most parents. The Tactics & Strategy Manual teaches parents about the system and how to negotiate for services. 

Here is a link to the Table of Contents:

Download the first chapter of the Tactics & Strategy Manual

NOTE: To read this chapter, you must have Adobe Reader installed on your computer. Adobe Reader is free software that you can download from the Adobe site


Where can you learn about “rights and responsibilities”? Where can you go to look up information?

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law includes the full text of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and extensive commentary by Pete. The book also includes Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and a casebook of special education decisions by the U. S. Supreme Court. 

Read what other people are saying about this book

Review the Table of Contents 

and the comprehensive Index.

In May, the “deluxe edition” of WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW with the Special Education Law Companion CD-ROM was released. The Companion CD-ROM includes these publications: 

* Wrightslaw: Special Education Law (digital version) 

* The IDEA Compliance Report, "Back to School on Civil Rights" published by the National Council on Disabilities 

* Federal Register (Vol. 64) that includes the final special education regulations, analysis and commentary 

Special Indexes 
The indexes in the WRIGHTSLAW COMPANION CD-ROM were specially created with the Adobe Catalog program. Searches of full-text indexes created with Adobe Catalog are faster and more convenient than using the “Find” command. Acrobat Search provides you with powerful tools to limit and/or expand your search. 

Click here for information about how to order

You can also order directly from the Wrightslaw store


Try to read one new book a month. Select books in areas where you feel least knowledgeable. You’ll find more information about our “Book a Month Plan" in the Advocate’s Bookstore. 

Because your child has reading problems, you need to learn about effective practices in reading instruction. An excellent book is 

STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT READING PROBLEMS by Susan Hall, Louisa Moats, and Reid Lyon.

In STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT READING, you’ll learn research-based methods of reading instruction." 

You can order STRAIGHT TALK from the Advocate’s Library. 

Browse through the “Effective Education” section of the Advocate’s Bookstore.

* * * * * * 


The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal issues, cases, tactics and strategy, effective educational methods, and Internet links.

Subscribers to The Special Ed Advocate receive announcements and "alerts" about new cases and news events, new uploads, conference announcements, special offers, and more. 

You can subscribe to THE SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE by following this link:



Get a private sector expert involved who can evaluate your son, test him to measure educational progress, and make recommendations to the IEP team about the services he needs. 


In addition to online resources from Wrightslaw, here are some other useful sites: 


LD Online is an excellent source of information for parents of children with disabilities.


From your description, it sounds like your son may have a language learning disability that is affecting his ability to read, write and spell. For information about educational methods and techniques designed to help children with language learning problems, contact the International Dyslexia Association (formerly the Orton Dyslexia Society): 

* National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY)

NICHCY hosts a huge site that contains thousands of articles. At the NICHCY site, you’ll find articles that focus on requests for information from parents. 


Margaret Kay is a Pennsylvania psychologist in private practice. You will find valuable information about reading, writing, and spelling problems on her site. Here is a link to information about dyslexia on Dr. Kay’s site.



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