COVID-19   Law    Advocacy    Topics A-Z     Training    Wrights' Blog   Wrightslaw Store    Yellow Pages for Kids 

  Home >Topics > Prior Written Notice (PWN) is a Powerful Tool When Skillfully Used by Jeff Martin, Esq.

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:

Training Programs

June 5-8 - San Antonio, TX

Aug. 22 - TRT-CLE

Sept. 24 - MD via ZOOM

Full Schedule


Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Cool Tools
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
Newsletter Archives
Short Course Series
Success Stories

Law Library

Fed Court Complaints
IDEA 2004
McKinney-Vento Homeless
Section 504


American Indian
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
College/Continuing Ed
Due Process
Early Intervention
  (Part C)

Episodic, such as
   Allergies, Asthma,
   Diabetes, Epilepsy, etc

Future Planning
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE / Inclusion
Military / DOD
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Related Services
Research Based

Response to Intervention

Restraints / Seclusion
   and Abuse

School Report Cards
Section 504
Teachers & Principals
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
  Disability Groups
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites


Print this page

Prior Written Notice is a Powerful Tool When Skillfully Used

by Jeff Martin, Esq.

Two questions keep coming to mind as I participate in IEP meetings for my daughter and for clients of William & Mary School of Law’s PELE Clinic:

1. How can I get my daughter’s IEP Team to take my suggestions more seriously?

2. How can I develop a record for clients whose children need extensive accommodations.

Prior Written Notice

Of course, the first place I looked was A good article about Prior Written Notice (PWN) is How to Use a "Parent IEP Attachment" by Judy Bonnell.

PWN is a powerful tool when skillfully used.

Essentially, IDEA 2004 requires the IEP team to formally and logically accept or reject any suggestions or requests that an IEP team member makes. (34 C.F.R. § 300.503.) As parents, we are members of the IEP team!

I like the form created by Judy Bonnell and available on This is the type of form that I will use for my daughter’s next IEP meeting.

A More Extensive PWN Form - Includes "Tabled" Actions

I sensed with some clients, who require “big ticket” educational needs like private placement or a one-on-one paraprofessional, I needed a more extensive form to really get the IEP team’s attention and to develop the record for future action.

Bringing out the PWN form is a show stopper.

Saying “no” is too easy for some IEP teams. Articulating “an explanation of why the agency . . . refuses to take the action and a description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the agency used as a basis for the . . . refused action” (20 U.S.C. 1415(c)) is tough. As an advocate, I can remain nice and let the law be the bad guy!

Schools rarely say straight up that they are refusing a parental request, while "tabling" the request often means the same thing. This PWN form wisely includes refusing/tabling a request and requires an explanation of why the request was tabled and a date for the next consideration of the request.

I typically type out the request on the PWN form:

“We propose a one-on-one paraprofessional in order for Johnny Doe to obtain FAPE based upon the recommendations of pediatrician Mark Meese, pediatric neurologist Sylvia Green, and clinical psychologist Steven Marcus.”

When we use the PWN form we always come away with a victory:

  • either our request is granted, or
  • we have developed a record that can help in future IEP meetings, mediation, due process, or court.

Download a copy of the PWN form in word or PDF format.

Meet Jeff Martin

Jeff Martin graduated with honors from William & Mary School of Law.  During his time at William & Mary, Jeff received the Gambrell Professionalism Award for written and oral advocacy and trial practice.

Jeff was awarded the Perkins Trust Scholarship and received the CALI Award for his work with the PELE Special Education Advocacy Clinic.  He was trained in Special Education Law by Pete & Pam Wright.

Jeff represents parents throughout Virginia in all aspects of Special Education law from IEP meetings to Due Process Hearings, though his favorite “client” is his own daughter who is in special education.

Contact Information

Jeffrey C. Martin
Law Office of Jeff Martin
Office: 757-969-5197

To Top

Created: 01/27/10

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!

Print Book & PDF Combos!

Order Wrightslaw Product
s Today!

Check Out
The Advocate's Store!

Wrightslaw on FacebookWrightslaw on TwitterWrightslaw YouTube Channel 

Wrightslaw Books
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 3rd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2019
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

The Advocate's Store

Understanding Your Child's
Test Scores (1.5 hrs)

Wrightslaw Special: $14.95