The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
February 4, 2002

Issue - 151
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

From Emotions to Advocacy Cruise: The Inside Story

Autism: Science v. Innovation

Fighting to Retain Status Quo

TEACCH v. ABA Debate

Free Autism Newsletter

Editor's Choice: Autism

Autism Info Page

Pete & Pam in Cleveland & Chicago

Subscription & Contact Info




Our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the confusing world of special education.

Highlights: The "inside story" of the FETA cruise; science v. innovation & cadillac v. chevrolet disputes; fighting to retain the status quo; TEACCH v ABA debate; subscribe to free newsletters; books about educating children with autism; autism info page; Pete & Pam come to Cleveland and Chicago.

Subscribers on February 4 2002: 36,823

We need your help! Help others learn about special education law and advocacy. Download, print and distribute the new Wrightslaw flyer. We designed the new Wrightslaw flyer in two formats - html and pdf - so it is easier to print.

Where can you distribute the flyer? At school meetings, your doctor's and psychologist's offices, hospitals, and day care centers.

Want to do more? Forward this newsletter or the subscription page to your friends. Together we can make a difference! Download this Newsletter in html

From Emotions to Advocacy Cruise: The Inside Story

On Friday, January 18, Fascination returned to Miami after a 5 day cruise in the Western Caribbean. On board were parents, advocates, and attorneys who joined Pete and Pam Wright on the "From Emotions to Advocacy Cruise."

You know about Wrightslaw Boot Camp. Now it's time to learn the inside story of the FETA Cruise!


Educating Children with Autism: Science v. Innovation, Cadillac v. Chevy Disputes

Zachary Deal is a seven year old child who has autism. His school district evaluated him, then placed him in a generic preschool class with developmentally delayed children.

When Zachary's parents learned about Lovaas-ABA educational programs, they implemented a home-based ABA program for their son. This program included intensive one-on-one instruction, highly structured teaching, and
comprehensive data collection and analysis.

Zachary made significant progress in this home-based program so his parents asked the school district to pay for these services. The district refused. The parents asked for data to support the effectiveness of the district's approach to teaching children with autism. The district had no data.

After a 27 day due process hearing, the judge issued a decision in Zachary's favor, finding that:

"Notwithstanding the fact that it had virtually no scientific data to support the services it offered for Zachary, [the district] rejected the Lovaas based methodology . . . The evidence showed that the HCDE actually cobbled together various components from other methodologies, primarily TEACCH . . . based on the experience and preferences of individual IEP team members . . ."

"If their intuition and experience were telling them that their choices for autistic children were as good or better than Lovaas ABA, they were misleading themselves."

The judge found that several school witnesses were not credible. He described these witnesses as evasive, confrontational, and "demonstrated a closed mind and steadfast adherence to preconceived notions."

"The IDEA may not mandate a Cadillac for Zachary Deal. It does, however, require the HCDE to make sure whichever vehicle they propose is fully gassed and capable of arriving at an appropriate destination."

Download the decision in Zachary's case (in pdf) from:


Fighting to Retain the Status Quo by Gary Mayerson, Esq.

Gary Mayerson, attorney for Zachary Deal's parents, writes an article about the costs when school districts cling to outmoded programs and fight to retain the status quo:

"What is incredible, other than the length of the hearing (27 days) and the tens of thousands of pages of evidence, is the crushing cost to the County which is in excess of $600,000, no matter how you slice it."


TEACCH v. ABA Debate

Pete answers questions about the methods used to educate young children with autism.

"It is a mistake for people to become emotionally wedded to one program if this blinds them to the possibility that new treatments and improvements will be made over time."


Free Autism Newsletter

Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) publishes FEAT Daily Newsletter, a free newsletter about neurobiological disorders.

If you are interested in autism, special education, advocacy, IDEA, genetic research, stem cell research, medical imaging, ADD/ADHD, or learning disabilities, you want to subscribe to FEAT Daily Newsletter.

To subscribe: http://www.feat.org/FEATNews/default.htm

To learn about other free newsletters, please go to the Free Newsletters Page at -


Editor's Choice: Books About Autism

Creating a Win-Win IEP for Students with Autism

"This book helped me to know what is needed in the IEP - a good tool for parents who want services for their child but often don't know how to ask. Devour this book before the next IEP meeting!"


Behavioral Intervention for Young Children With Autism: A Manual for Parents and Professionals, Catherine Maurice, Gina Green, Stephen C. Luce, Editors.

What is Lovaas therapy? How does it work?
This is the only treatment backed up with empirical research data . . . it is a credible and effective treatment method . . . there is hope for these children and this book shows how.


Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin

In this unprecedented book, Temple Grandin, gifted animal scientist who is also autistic, writes about autism from her unique personal perspective. 
"Without guile or pretentions Temple Grandin shares with the reader the workings of her mind and the life she has built." Thinking in Pictures is a good reference to the types autism and treatments being used successfully today. 

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy - The Special Education Survival Guide

From Emotions to Advocacy is the best, most practical, informative, empathetic book on the market. It's amazing and thrilling to be an advocate for 15 years, to read FETA, and feel the thrill of 'Oh, my God! that is so true', and to be able to sharpen my skills. Order book

Autism Info Page

Autism is a developmental disorder of neurobiological origin that affects the child's ability to communicate ideas and feelings, use imagination, and establish relationships with others.

All available research strongly suggests that intensive early intervention makes a critical difference to children with autistic disorders. Without early identification and diagnosis, children with autism do not learn the skills necessary to benefit from education.

For FAQs, articles, cases, and free resources about autism, visit our Autism Info Page at - https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/autism.index.htm

Pete & Pam in Cleveland & Chicago

Please join Pete and Pam Wright for a full day of advocacy training in Cleveland Ohio and Chicago, Illinois.

February 20: Cleveland, OH. For information, call the Cuyahoga County Bar Association at 216-621-5112 or Special Education Legal Services (SELS) at 216-289-IDEA (216-289-4332). Download and distribute flyer.

February 23: Chicago, IL. For information, call Special Connections 312-914-0591 or email Contact@special-connections.org

To learn if we are scheduled to come to your area, please check our Schedule.

Subscription & Contact Info

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, tactics and strategy, and Internet resources. Subscribers receive announcements and "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books. 

To subscribe. Read back issues of Special Ed Advocate.

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Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
ISSN: 1538-3202
Pete and Pam Wright
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: https://www.wrightslaw.com