The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
August 3, 2004

Issue -
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

From the Editor: Due Process Hearings

Advice About "10-Day Notice Letters"

Using Letters to Persuade & Prevail

DYH: Dealing with Confusing Terms & Jargon

Choreography of Trial Preparation

Representing the Special Ed Child

Advocacy Training in Indianapolis & Hartford, CT (Sept, 2004)

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At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need navigate the confusing world of special education. In this issue, we look at letters, paper trails, and due process hearings.

Highlights: Pete Wright's advice about "10-day notice letters"; how to use letters to persuade & prevail; how to deal with confusing terms & jargon; choreography of trial preparation; representing the special ed child; advocacy training programs in Indianapolis, IN & Hartford CT.

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

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

1. From the Editor: Special Education Due Process Hearings

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act includes rules of procedure for resolving complaints. These rules include mediation, due process hearings, and appeals to state or federal court. (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, page 71)

A special education due process hearing is usually a formal, contested, adversarial trial. Special education cases are similar to medical malpractice cases, with battles of expert witnesses, and the emotions of bitterly contested divorce cases with child custody and equitable distribution issues.

Before you request a due process hearing, you need to be familiar with the federal statute and regulations and your state special education statute and regulations. You should also read the Rules of Adverse Assumptions (Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, Chapter 21).

2. Advice About "10-Day Notice Letters" by Pete Wright

An attorney writes: "Do you have any advice about the '10 day notice letter' to the school that parent are required to send if they plan to place their child in a private school at public expense? What should be included?"

In Advice About 10-Day Notice Letters, Pete Wright answers questions about what should be included in a 10-day notice letter from the parents and how to use the letter to lay out the theme of the case. This article includes links to "Letters to the Stranger" in Pete's cases. Read article

More Qs & As.

3. How to Use Letters to Persuade & Prevail

How do parents prevail in due process hearings? If you write letters and create a paper trail and you have competent, qualified private experts who can testify about what your child needs, you will be in a good position if a due process hearing is necessary.

In Using Letters to Letters to Persuade & Prevail, you see how a father used the storytelling approach of letter writing when he asked the school district to help his son. Do you see Joe through his father's eyes? Do you understand why the parents removed Joe from the public school program?

What do you think should be done to help Joe?

Learn more about letter-writing.

4. Doing Your Homework: Dealing with Confusing Jargon & Terms by Sue Heath

"My district has special ed teachers, general ed teachers, teaching assistants, and teaching aides. Teaching assistants are supposed to have associate's degrees. After reading your article, Why You Should Request a Paraprofessional, Not an Aide, I am confused. Are teaching assistants the same as paraprofessionals? "

In Dealing with Confusing Jargon & Terms, Sue Heath helps a parent through a thicket of confusing educational jargon, and offers advice about how to deal with this problem in IEP meetings. Read article.

Sue writes Doing Your Homework about creative advocacy strategies. She is also the co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind published by Harbor House Law Press.

Sue wrote The Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind (available as a 4 page printer-friendly pdf doc) AND What Teachers, Principals & School Administrators Need to Know About No Child Left Behind (available in printer-friendly pdf)

Read more Doing Your Homework articles.

5. The Choreography of Trial Preparation

In The Choreography of Trial Preparation, attorney Barbara Ebenstein describes choreography, music, and trial preparation as creative endeavors. Instead movement or music, the litigator uses the medium of information from documents and the testimony of witnesses.

Ms. Ebenstein eloquently describes the balance of spontaneity and simplicity. When you examine documents, she explains that you should look for "negative space." Ms. Ebenstein shares her father's wise advice - "Read law!" Read article

Read The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law & Practice. Learn more about The Beacon.

6. Representing the Special Ed Child by Pete Wright

In Representing the Special Ed Child, a comprehensive article for attorneys and lay advocates, Pete Wright describes issues in representing children with disabilities, including legal principles, evidence, getting in additional evidence, and preparing for special education due process hearings. Download Representing the Special Ed Child.

Learn more about due process hearings.

Coming Soon! Surviving Due Process: When Parents and the School Board Disagree

Surviving Due Process: When Parents and the School Board Disagree is a two-hour film that takes you through a special education due process hearing, from initial preparation to testimony by the final witness. Synopsis of story and photos in Stephen Jeffers v. School Board.

The cast includes:

* Darrel Tillar Mason, Esq., attorney and former hearing officer
* Kathleen S. Mehfoud, Esq., nationally-known school board attorney
* Peter W. D. Wright, Esq., nationally-known parent attorney

Surviving Due Process will be available on DVD this Fall. Newsletter subscribers will receive advance notice and a special prepublication offer on Surviving Due Process: When Parents & the School Board Disagree.

7. Join Pete & Pam Wright for Advocacy Training Programs in IN & CT (September 2004)

"The Wrightslaw Special Education Law Seminar in Michigan was a tremendously rewarding experience and will forever change our practice." - Bryan I. Eder, Esq., Chudnof & Eder, PLC

Wrightslaw legal advocacy programs focus on four areas: special education law, rights and responsibilities; tests and measurements to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and advocacy tactics & strategies.

September 17: Indianapolis, IN (1 day Advocacy Training Program)

September 21-22: Hartford, CT (Mini Boot Camp)

"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!"

Fall 2004
: Programs are also scheduled in Oklahoma City, OK (FREE to Oklahoma parents & educational caregivers) and Virginia Beach, VA.
  Full schedule

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

8. 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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