The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
March 2, 2004

Issue -
ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue

Autism & Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD

Debate: ABA/Lovaas Therapy

Behavior & Discipline: Assessments, Interventions

Save $10 on Emotions to Advocacy

Anatomy of a Special Ed Case

ABA/Lovaas Caselaw

Learning from Others: Support Groups, Organizations

Wrightslaw Programs in NH, AK, MD

Help from Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

Subscription and Contact Info 

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

Highlights: Autism and PDD; debate about ABA /Lovaas therapy; functional behavior assessments & positive interventions; save $10 on Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy; anatomy of special ed case; ABA/Lovaas caselaw; support groups & organizations; Wrightslaw programs in NH, AK, MD; help from Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities.

Wrightslaw is ranked #1 in education law, special education law, and special education advocacy. (2003 Alexa rankings)

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! Download newsletter

1. Autism & Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD)

Last week, Wrightslaw advocacy programs were sponsored by the Autism Society of Indiana, the Indiana Resource Center for Autism and the Autism Society of America - Oakland Chapter. We want to thank the leaders of these organizations for giving Indiana and Michigan parents a chance to learn advocacy skills.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, "the diagnosis of autism can be made reliably in two-year-olds by professionals experienced in the diagnostic assessment of young children" with autistic disorders. Early diagnosis is crucial because education is the primary form of treatment, and the earlier it starts, the better."

Some or all of the following characteristics may be observed:

    Communication problems (e.g., using and understanding language)
    Difficulty in relating to people, objects, and events
    Unusual play with toys and other objects
    Difficulty with changes in routine or familiar surroundings
    Repetitive body movements or behavior patterns
The Autism Resources Library has Qs & As, articles, caselaw, book recommendations, and free publications.

2. Debate: ABA /Lovaas Therapy

We receive many questions from parents, teachers, and health care providers about appropriate special education services for children with autism. One parent wrote:

"I consulted with you several years ago about my autistic son. He now receives services in a TEACCH classroom in the public school. You seem to recommend ABA/Lovaas early intervention programs for children with autism. Can you clarify?"

In TEACCH v. ABA Debate, Pete answers questions about methods used to educate young children with autism.

In Autism Therapy is Effective, but Rare, Laurie Tarkan of The New York Times describes problems parents face in getting appropriate services for their children with autism, including the failure to use effective educational methods with these children. She writes, "A vast majority of children with autism are not getting the intensive early intervention that experts say is both essential and effective."

Lesson: Regardless of your child's disability, you need to educate yourself about your child's disability, research-based educational methods and medical treatments. You also need to learn how to present your child's problems to school staff so they want to help.

To learn more about autism, ABA/Lovaas therapy, early intervention, and research-based educational methods, please visit our Autism Resources Library.

3. Behavior & Discipline: Functional Behavior Assessments & Positive Interventions

Is the child a problem? Does the child have a problem? Is suspension from school "good medicine for bad behavior?" Is the school suspending the child for behavior that is related to the disability?

In Functional Behavioral Assessment & Positive Interventions: What Parents Need to Know, Dixie Jordan describes strategies parents and teachers can use to assess problem behavior and teach appropriate behavior skills to children. (4 pages, pdf)

In Functional Behavioral Assessments: What? Why? When? Where? Who?, Stephen Starin describes problem behaviors, functional behavior assessments, environmental manipulation, and qualifications and training of evaluators. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Discipline for Children with Disabilities. Despite amendments to IDEA in 1997, schools continue to suspend children with disabilities for behaviors that are related to their disabilities. If you are confused about discipline, read this memorandum from the U. S. Department of Education.

Learn more
about behavior assessments, interventions, discipline issues

4. Save $10 on Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy - "An Invaluable Advocacy Tool"

"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

Expect this book to be tabbed and dog-eared - it is an invaluable advocacy tool." - The Tourette Gazette

"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

"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

Learn more about Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy  l Order book

Discounts & Exam Copies

50% Discount on Bulk Purchases of Wrightslaw Books
-The Advocacy Challenge Discount is a 50% discount on bulk purchases of Wrightslaw books.

Exam Copies - Teachers in colleges and universities around the country use Wrightslaw books in education, special education and special education law courses. Learn more

Wrightslaw books are reasonably priced ($29.95) - easy on tight budgets.

5. Anatomy of a Special Ed Case

Stefan Jaynes has autism. His parents implemented an intensive ABA/ Lovaas program and requested reimbursement for this program. Anatomy of a Special Education Case: ABA/Lovaas Therapy tells the story of Stefan's case, from his diagnosis through the due process hearing to the final decision from the U. S. Court of Appeals for Fourth Circuit. Anatomy of a Special Education Case includes links to the pleadings and decisions in Stefan's case. 

Ninth Circuit Issues Decision in ABA/Lovaas Case includes Pete Wright's analysis of Amanda J. v. Clark County School District and Nevada Dept of Education.

More articles about legal & advocacy issues

6. ABA/Lovaas Caselaw

Caselaw about ABA / Lovaas therapy continues to evolve. Here are links to several decisions about educating children with autism.

G. v. Fort Bragg Dependent Schools (4th Cir. 2003). Rights of children who attend Dept of Defense schools; FAPE & educational benefit; methodology; reimbursement for home-based Lovaas program; procedural safeguards and notice by parents; compensatory education for failure to provide FAPE; prevailing party status & attorneys fees.

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.

Michael M. v. Kanawaha (S.D. WVA 2000) One of Pete's favorite cases, includes an excellent discussion of IEPs. See also Order in Michael M v. Kanawaha (Tip: This is a very large file. If you have a slow modem, you may want to "right click" it to save to your hard drive, then open it.)

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.

T. H. v. Bd. Ed. Palatine IL (N. D. IL 1999). This powerful well-written decision discusses methodology, IEP development process, IEP goals and objectives, individualization, educational benefit, unilateral placement by parents, reimbursement, standard of review. (in pdf)

For more decisions, please visit the Caselaw Library.

7. Learning from Others: Organizations & Support Groups

We encourage parents to join a support or study group or an advocacy group. How do you find a parent group? In Advocacy Strategies: Learning from Other Parents, you learn strategies to find a group that meets your needs.

More advocacy strategies.

Good Books!

You will find many good books in our Advocacy Bookstore.

How Well Does Your IEP Measure Up? Step-by-step guide to writing IEPs for children with autistic spectrum disorders. Includes sample goal & objective templates; recommendations for teaching strategies, educational programming formats, useful resources.

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!"

How to be a Para-Pro: A Comprehensive Training Manual for Paraprofessionals. This practical manual is filled with strategies to help the paraprofessional handle problems and challenges. Includes four categories of educational support; blueprint for caregiver support; solutions to problems situations; take home messages; data and record keeping forms.

8. Coming Soon! Wrightslaw Programs in New Hampshire, Alaska & Maryland

Please join us for a Wrightslaw special education law and advocacy program. These programs are usually "sold out" so if you plan to attend, don't procrastinate - register today!

Manchester, New Hampshire (Boot Camp) - March 26-27, 2004

Juneau, Alaska
(Boot Camp) - April 8-9, 2004

Anchorage, Alaska
 (Boot Camp)- April 13-14, 2004

Annapolis, Maryland
(Boot Camp) - April 30-May 1, 2004

you are interested in bringing Pete and Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars. (We are scheduling programs for 2005-2006.)

9. Need Help? Visit the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

Are you looking for a tutor or therapist? A psychologist or educational diagnostician? A speech language therapist? An advocate or attorney?

If you are looking for help - or a helper - visit the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities.
Your state Yellow Pages has many resources - evaluators, therapists, tutors, special Ed schools, advocates, organizations, and support groups.

What to Expect from an Evaluation of Your Child

Working with Independent Evaluators and Educational Consultants

Questions for a Lay Advocate

Questions for an Attorney

Are you looking for a research-based reading program? Review the list of providers who use structured, multisensory, alphabetic techniques. Check the database of service providers from the International Dyslexia Association.

Learn more about Research-Based Instruction

10. Subscription & Contact Info

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

Law Library Seminars & Training
Advocacy Yellow Pages for Kids
No Child Left Behind Free Newsletter
IDEA Reauthorization Newsletter Archives

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: https://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletter@wrightslaw.com

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