The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
October 8, 2002

Issue - 181

ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind

Free Pub: Grade Retention Ineffective, Maybe Harmful

New Case: Parent Reimbursed as ABA Therapy Provider

From Emotions to Advocacy - Great Reviews

Learn About Autism and ABA/Lovaas Caselaw

Testing: Myths & Realities

Fall Advocacy Training Schedule

Subscription & Contact Info


Your Email:

Your Name & Zipcode:

At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the confusing world of special education.

Highlights: Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind; new case - parent reimbursed as ABA therapy provider; From Emotions to Advocacy gets great reviews; autism and ABA therapy caselaw; myths and realities about testing; Pete & Pam's schedule for Fall 2002.

Download online version of newsletter: https://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/nwltr/2002/nl.1008.htm

Quote of the Week: "A century of research has failed to demonstrate the benefits of grade
retention over promotion for any group of students." (for source of quote, see Grade Retention article)

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter is free - please forward this issue or the subscription link to your friends and colleagues so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. We appreciate your help!


1. A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind by Suzanne Heath

No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
is a law that covers all states, school districts, and schools that accept Title 1 federal grants. One way or another, this law covers all public schools in all states.

NCLB emphasizes accountability and teaching methods that work.

A large focus of this law is on reading achievement. Only 32% of fourth graders are proficient readers who read at a fourth grade level.

In A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind, you learn about new requirements for teachers and paraprofessionals, school and school district report cards, annual testing in math and reading. You will also learn about new options for parents including transfers from failing schools and free supplemental services - tutoring, after-school programs and summer school.

To learn about No Child Left Behind - how it applies to you, your child, and your school - download A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind at:


Print & Distribute

A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind is also available as a 4 page, printer-friendly pdf document.


Three weeks ago, we distributed A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind to 400 people who attended our advocacy training program in Richmond, VA. Several thousand copies have been downloaded from the site.

We encourage you to print and distribute this article so parents, teachers and child advocates will learn about this important law. By working together, we are making a difference!

2. Free Pub: Grade Retention is Ineffective, May Be Harmful

In Grade Retention: Achievement & Mental Health Outcomes, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) warns that schools may retain more children in response to pressures to improve school performance and test scores.

Research does not support grade retention as an effective intervention. "Retention is ineffective, and may be harmful . . . Retention at any grade level is associated with later high school dropout . . ."

". . . a century of research has failed to demonstrate the benefits of grade
retention over promotion for any group of students."
- National Association of School Psychologists

According to NASP, "Early identification for prevention and intervention is essential . . . we must focus on implementing evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies to promote social and cognitive competence and facilitate the academic success of all students."

NASP recommends several alternatives to retention: reading programs, direct instruction, well-designed after-school programs, tutoring, and summer school.

Retention: Tactics & Strategies

If the school wants to retain your child, download Grade Retention: Achievement & Mental Health Outcomes. Print several copies of the article. Provide the article to school personnel (including the school psychologist).

Because the article is short (3 pages) and is published by a respected organization, school staff are more likely to read it and accept the recommendations.

You can download Grade Retention from the NASP site at:


and from Wrightslaw at:


3. New Decision: Parent Reimbursed as ABA Therapy Provider

Since the U. S. Supreme Court issued a 9-0 decision in Florence County v. Shannon Carter, it has been established that parents can seek reimbursement for private ABA therapy providers if: (1) they can establish that the school district failed to provide FAPE, and (2) the program they secure for their child is appropriate.

On October 4, the Federal District Court (E.D. PA) held that a parent may be compensated by the school district for providing ABA services. This appears to be the first time any federal court has made such a ruling.

According to Gary Mayerson, attorney for the parent:

"While the District Court held that the federal IDEA statute is broad enough to encompass direct compensation to parents, it cautioned that its decision would be limited to the situation where
(a) the local educational agency fails to provide a free and appropriate public education, (b) the parent supplies services which are established to be “appropriate,” and (c) the parent receives training."

If you are interested in ABA/Lovaas therapy, early intervention, or parental reimbursement, you will want to read Mr. Mayerson's analysis of the decision in Bucks County Dept of Mental Health v. De Mora:


The article includes tips for parents who provide ABA therapy and a link to the decision.

Gary Mayerson is a well-known attorney who has represented parents in many high-profile cases, including the 27-day due process hearing in an ABA case, Zachary Deal v. Hamilton County Department of Education.

Read Mr. Mayerson's analysis of Zachary Deal v. Hamilton County Dept of Educ at:


4. From Emotions to Advocacy - Great Reviews!

"Expect this book to be tabbed and dog-eared as it becomes an invaluable advocacy tool." - The Tourette Gazette (Fall 2002)

"If I were asked to choose just one book to help me learn advocacy skills, this is it!" - Support for Families of Children with Disabilities Newsletter

"A superb reference, From Emotions To Advocacy is very highly recommended reading for all parents of children in need of special education services .. . Filled with tips, tricks, and techniques and an immense wealth of resources, from Internet sites and advocacy organizations to worksheets, forms, and sample letters . . . " - Midwest Book Review

"Information is presented in a clear, concise format. You will not want to skip a single page . . . gives families a clear roadmap to effective advocacy. We award their work the Exceptional Parent Symbol of Excellence." - Exceptional Parent Magazine

Do you have Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy? If you are the parent of a child with a disability and your answer is "no," you need to investigate this highly recommended book!

Learn more about Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy: https://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/feta/feta.htm

Order book: https://www.wrightslaw.com/store/index.html

5. Autism & ABA/Lovaas Caselaw

If you are interested in autism, ABA/Lovaas therapy, early intervention, or research-based educational methods, please visit our Autism Page for dozens of articles, cases, free pubs, and book recommendations:


Here are links to several important decisions about educating children with autism. For more decisions, please visit our Caselaw Library.


Amanda C. v. Clark County Sch. Dist. and Nevada Dept of Educ. (9th Cir. 2001)

Court of Appeals reinstates hearing officer's decision; chides school employees for failure to inform parents of rights; procedural safeguards violations.


Zachary Deal v. Hamilton Dept of Educ (TN Due Process Decision Aug 2001)

Administrative law judge issues 45 page decision after a 27-day due process hearing; finds procedural safeguards and LRE violations; substantive violations; discusses credibility problems with school witnesses re: closed minds, evasiveness.


Stefan Jaynes v. Newport News (E.D. VA 2000)

ABA/ Lovaas case; school fails to provide appropriate program; judge orders school to reimburse parents more than 100K.


Michael v. Kanawaha (S.D. WVA 2000)

One of Pete's favorite cases, includes excellent discussion of IEPs.


6. Testing: Myths & Realities

How many of these statements about testing are true?

* Testing suppresses teaching and learning.
* Testing promotes "teaching to the test."

* Testing does not measure what a student knows.
* Testing discriminates against different styles of test-takers.
* Testing hurts the poor and people of color.
* Testing increases dropout rates and create physical and emotional illness in children.

How many of those statements are true? How many are myths? Confused about testing?

Get answers to these questions in Testing: Myths & Realities.

Parents and teachers need to learn why tests are essential to measuring progress and learning. Learn about the Myths of Tests - and the Realities!


Learn about tests, assessments and evaluations on our Tests Page:


7. Advocacy Training: Fall 2002 Schedule

Knowledge is power. When you have information and skills, you will be a more effective advocate for your child. Our role is to help you gain this knowledge so you can negotiate on your child's behalf.

In November, we travel to Ontario, CA for the LDA of California conference, then to Atlanta for the International Dyslexia Association conference.

In December, we go to Oklahoma City for a two-day Wrightslaw Boot Camp. Don't forget the From Emotions to Advocacy Cruise!

October 30, 2002: Roanoke, VA. "What Every Special Ed Parent / Advocate / Attorney Should Know About Discipline."


November 7-9, 2002: Los Angeles, CA. Full day of advocacy training on Nov 7; additional sessions on Nov 8-9.


December 6-7, 2002, Oklahoma City. 2-day Boot Camp!



In 2003, we are scheduled to present programs in Louisiana, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. For more information about events and programs scheduled this year, please check our Seminars & Training page:


"What a marvelous conference! I often leave sped presentations angry and/or guilty because of all the things that have been done or not done.
This time I left encouraged, inspired and armed! - Maryland parent

How to Plan a Training Program or Seminar

Programs are now being scheduled for 2003-2004. If you want to bring Pete & Pam Wright to your town, please read the FAQs about Seminars:


8. 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: https://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm

Back issues: https://www.wrightslaw.com/archives.htm

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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
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