Education and Inspiration: New Special Ed Law Clinic Assists Families

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On January 30, the Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Conference kicked-off the opening of the new Special Education Advocacy Clinic at the William and Mary Law School.

The Clinic, which will assist children with special needs and their families, and a new special ed law course taught by Pete and Pam Wright are part of the Law School’s new Parents Engaged for Learning Equality (PELE) Initiative.

Patty Roberts, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs, introduced P2 at the conference and explained that law students in the clinic, working under her supervision, will offer their services to families at no charge and also will conduct a free training class each semester to offer tools and information to parents so that they can become more knowledgeable advocates for their children.

A packed house filled the Commonwealth Auditorium at the Sadler Center on the campus in Williamsburg, VA . An energized group of parents, advocates, attorneys, and law students participated in the discussion and responded to Pete’s questions.

Jeffrey Breit, the 2008-2009 St. George Tucker Adjunct Professor of Law and partner at Breit, Drescher, & Imprevento, provided the impetus to create the clinic. He saw the challenges facing friends who have children with special needs and thought a clinic would be of great assistance to other families in the community and afford an important learning opportunity for students. He introduced Patty to Pete and Pam and the rest, as they say, is history. In the background, law students, Blair and Ken, assist with conference registrations.

Interim Law School Dean Lynda Butler predicted that the clinic will be “both an education and inspiration for the law students involved in it. I trust that long after they graduate these law students will look back on their work with parents and children in this clinic as among the most rewarding experiences in their legal education.”

Read the William and Mary Press Release New Law School Clinic to Assist Children with Special Needs and Families at

The clinic began accepting applications from clients on Feb. 1

  1. Kristina:

    Is your son using the PECS program? This program teaches communication. You would use the program at home and in school. The teacher saying “he really is not making any progress” screams out for more supports to be put in place to help your son be successful in the school setting.


    I am having trouble with this because we see our four year old make a lot of progress at home. He can now take very simple commands. He can do many things that he couldn’t months ago. He even nods his head on occasion when you ask him a simple yes or no question. I have been told that if our son is not making progress at school then it is probably the teacher and aide and not our son.

    The teacher was questioned by the Director of special Ed and when asked “what progress have you seen out of Kardyn this year” she stated that she had seem “some but not a lot”. When I asked her this same question before anyone else spoke with her she told me that she hated saying this but NONE. She seems to tell two differen’t versions and she has done this before. I am not sure what to believe and this is driving us crazy because we see our son make so much progress. We were told that the teacher would just shoot us down in regards to the things we see him doing since it does’t relate supposedly to school and what he is being taught. She could say that the things he is learning would have come regardless. I simply don’t understand. To me progress of any type is still progress.

    Any suggestions or thoughts?

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