The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
October 29, 2002

Issue - 184

ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

Special Ed Advocacy - 9 Rules of Thumb by Bob Crabtree

W. B. v. Matula: Child Find & Damages

Passing Grades, IQ Scores, LD Evaluation Requirements

Need Help? Visit Your State Yellow Pages

New Free Pub: No Child Left Behind Deskbook

Functional Behavior Assessments

In the Next Issue . . .

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. In this issue, we answer your questions.

Highlights: Special ed advocacy - 9 rules of thumb by Bob Crabtree; landmark case about child find and damages; passing grades, IQ scores, LD evaluation requirements, and eligibility questions; help from your state Yellow Pages; new Free Pub - No Child Left Behind Deskbook; functional behavior assessments.

Download online newsletter: https://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/nwltr/2002/nl/10.29.htm

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. Special Ed Advocacy - 9 Rules of Thumb by Robert Crabtree, Esq.

Advocating for your child can be confusing and frustrating. What do you need to know? What steps do you need to take? How can you distinguish between the urgent and the important? Attorney Bob Crabtree offers a few rules of thumb:

"Because the stakes are so high, it is very difficult for parents of children with special educational needs to advocate calmly and objectively for the educational and related services their children need. Nevertheless, calmness, objectivity, and a third quality -- patience for the long haul -- are the parents' most important tools in a complex and often frustrating process."

"In the course of that process, here are a few rules of thumb I have found to be helpful to parents." Read Special Ed Advocacy: 9 Rules of Thumb" at:


Read more articles about Parent Advocacy at https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/advo.index.htm

2. W.B. v Matula: Child Find & Damages

In 1995, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit broke new ground in W.B. v. Matula


In W.B. v. Matula, the school district refused to evaluate a disabled child and refused to provide the child with an appropriate program. Instead, district personnel engaged in a power struggle with the mother. In finding for the parent and child, the court quoted the Administrative Law Judge who wrote:

"This decision would not be complete without a comment on Mansfield's seemingly endless attacks on the parent, W.B. Evidently, Mansfield believes not only that W.B. is overly persistent, but also that she is trying to wear down the district to obtain services to which E.J. Is not entitled . . . W.B. was essentially correct about the major points in dispute . . . including evaluation, classification and placement. Nonetheless, the district has consistently denied W.B.'s reasonable, appropriate, and meritorous requests . . . the burden placed on W.B. Was unnecessary, unwarranted, and largely the product of the district's unwillingness to recognize and appreciate E.J.'s neurological impairments despite ample reliable evidence . . ."

The court found that monetary damages may be available under several statutes, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 1983. The decision also dealt with exhaustion, qualified immunity, and due process.

Download the landmark decision in W.B. v. Matula from:


Get cases about ABA/Lovaas therapy, eligibility, child find, FAPE, extended school year, damages, compensatory education, tuition reimbursement, and other issues from the Caselaw Library:



3. Passing Grades, IQ Scores & Special Ed Eligibility

"Does a school district have to evaluate a child for a specific learning disability, i.e. dyslexia? (Pennsylvania teacher)

"As advocates for students with learning disabilities, we see students being denied services because they are receiving As, Bs and Cs on their report cards and are passing from grade to grade."

"Parents are being told that a standard score of 85 or higher on an academic portion of the Woodcock Johnson indicates the child is achieving at grade level and does not need special education services . . . can you clarify?" (North Carolina advocates)

"My child receives reading tutoring at my expense. The tutor thinks he has dyslexia and advised me to get an evaluation. The school refused to evaluate because he makes good grades. When I pressed the issue, they said his IQ is too high to qualify for special ed. Is this correct?"

When you advocate for your child, you will meet gatekeepers!
Gatekeepers limit the number of children who have access to special education services and the services children can receive. To learn more about gatekeepers, read:

The Gatekeeper's Job is to Say "No! at:


and 10 Reasons Why Schools Say No!


If you are advocating for a child with dyslexia or a learning disability and run into a gatekeeper, download and read Letter to Lillie/Felton:


Letter to Lillie/Felton is a letter to two North Carolina advocates for kids with learning disabilities from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). In the letter, OSEP discusses grades and grade inflation, IQ scores, parental help, and requirements for evaluating children with learning disabilities.

For more articles, resources and caselaw about eligibility, please visit the Eligibility Page at:


4. Need Help? Visit Your State Yellow Pages

"Can you tell me if there is a support group for Aspergers? We live in Columbia, SC."

"I need to find an advocate - I live in Washington state."

We built the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities so you can get reliable information and support.


When you visit your state Yellow Pages, you will find many different resources - evaluators, tutors, advocates, consultants, programs, attorneys, and support groups.

"The new Yellow Pages on Fetaweb.com are a great idea - Thanks!" - Jeanne

Yellow Pages Applications

We are accepting applications from evaluators, educational consultants, tutors, advocates, attorneys, and others who help parents get services for their children. If you provide a service, you may request a free listing on your state Yellow Pages.

Learn about application process: http://www.fetaweb.com/help/states.htm

Yellow Pages Flyers

To get the word out about the Yellow Pages, we designed a general Yellow Pages Flyer and flyers for each state.

Download flyers: http://www.fetaweb.com/help/state.flyers.htm

Please distribute your state Yellow Pages Flyer at schools, day care centers, libraries, doctor's and psychologist's offices, community centers, and hospitals.

"Your flyer will go up on my information board and website today!" -
Fleet & Family Support Center

Do you have a website? Please link to the Yellow Pages! Download Yellow Pages images:


5. Free Pub: No Child Left Behind Deskbook

"I have questions about the new testing requirements for para professionals."

"Can I request information about the certification of my child's teacher?"

"How can I tell if my district's reading programs are scientifically based?"

Do you have questions about the No Child Left Behind Act? You're not alone! Get answers to your questions in No Child Left Behind: A Desktop Reference, a new publication from the U.S. Department of Education.

The NCLB Desktop Reference is a clear, straight forward guide to the No Child Left Behind Act. You can download a copy of No Child Left Behind: A Desktop Reference as a Word document or a pdf file from:


You can order copies of No Child Left Behind: A Desktop Reference by writing to: Ed Pubs, Education Publications Center, U. S. Department of Education, P. O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398

or you can fax your request to 301-470-1244

or you can email your request to: edpubs@inet.ed.gov

or you can call in your request toll-free: 1-877-433-7827 or 1-800-872-5327 (1-800-USA-LEARN)

Learn more about No Child Left Behind: https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/nclb.index.htm

6. Free Pubs: Functional Behavior Assessments

"At your September advocacy program in Richmond, you mentioned a functional behavior assessment publication. Can you help me track this down?" - Lisa

Sure! Go to the Free Pubs page at:


Scroll down to "Behavior & Discipline." You want to download An IEP Team's Introduction to Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plans (in 3 parts)

Download as pdf file

Conducting a Functional Behavior Assessment

Download as pdf file
: http://cecp.air.org/fba/problembehavior2/Functional Analysis.PDF 

Addressing Student Problem Behavior: Creating Positive Behavioral Intervention Plans & Supports.
Download as pdf file: http://cecp.air.org/fba/problembehavior3/part3.pdf  

You will find several good articles about functional behavior assessments on our Behavior & Discipline page:


Functional Behavioral Assessment & Positive Interventions: What Parents Need to Know

Is the child a problem? Does the child have a problem? Is suspension from school "good medicine for bad behavior?" Dixie Jordan describes strategies parents and teachers can use to assess problem behavior and teach appropriate behavior skills to children.


Functional Behavioral Assessments: What? Why? When? Where? Who?

Dr. Stephen Starin describes problem behaviors, functional behavior assessments, environmental manipulation, and qualifications and training of evaluators.


7. Coming in the Next Issue . . .

We heard some great quotes this week.

"Some states have lowered the bar of expectations to hide the low performance of their schools . . . others are discussing how they can ratchet down their standards to remove schools from their list of low performers."

"Those who play semantic games or try to tinker with state numbers to lock out parents and the public stand in the way of progress and reform. They are the enemies of equal justice and equal opportunity. They are apologists for failure. And they will not succeed."

Do you know who made these statements? Why?

You will learn the answers to these questions in the next issue of The Special Ed Advocate!

8. Subscription & Contact Info

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