The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
August 31, 2004

Issue -
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

Message from Pete & Pam Wright

Psychologists Object to Advice About Independent Evaluators

Expert Witnesses & Psycho-educational Reports

Parent Advocacy: What You Should Do . . . and Not Do

Why Not the Best? 4 Lessons About FAPE

Online Guide to Special Ed Rights & Responsibilities

Wrightslaw Training in IN, CT, VA, OK (Fall 2004)

NCLB Seminars

Free Pubs: NCLB & LD

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 confusing world of special education.

Highlights: Special thanks from Pete & Pam Wright; Psychologists object to advice about evaluations from independent evaluators; expert witnesses & psycho-educational reports; parent advocacy - what you should do and not do; why not the best - lessons about FAPE; online guide to special education rights & responsibilities; Wrightslaw programs in Indianapolis, Hartford, Virginia Beach, Oklahoma City; NCLB seminars; free pub about NCLB.

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. Message from Pete and Pam Wright

A special thanks to Cynthia Pitts, Assistant Superintendent of Middlesex County Virginia Public Schools, who invited Pete to do a training program for teachers about special education law today - and who purchased copies of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law for each teacher who attended the program. Ms. Pitts knew her teachers needed this training and she worked hard to make the program a reality. Pete had a great time!

2. Psychologists Object to Advice About Independent Evaluators

A few weeks ago, we offered parents this advice: "Get a comprehensive evaluation of your child by an independent evaluator in the private sector - this evaluation will give you a roadmap for the future. Choose an evaluator who is independent of the school district and who is willing to work with the school staff."

Several school psychologists objected to this advice. One wrote:

"Your advice for parents to obtain comprehensive evaluation from independent providers, not from those of us who work for the school system, is too biased. You cannot guarantee that an outside evaluation will be more comprehensive than that provided by people who care about students."

Change the facts. Assume you have a medical problem - severe back pain. You consult with a doctor who recommends surgery. Would you accept this doctor's opinion? Would you seek a second opinion? What would you think if the doctor tried to make you feel guilty because you insisted on a second opinion?

If you question the need to get a comprehensive evaluation by an independent evaluator, read The Blame Game: Are School Problems the Kids' Fault? about the power of school culture on findings in school psychologists' evaluations. Next, read Teachers Say School Assessments Fail to Give Relevant Information.

We stand by our advice.

3. Expert Witnesses & Psycho-Educational Reports

Attorneys and advocates will be interested in these articles about experts and how to prepare psycho-educational reports that pass muster in special education due process hearings.

Factors to Consider When Selecting an Expert by Rosemary N. Palmer, Esq.

Using an Expert as An Effective Resource by Jennifer L. Bollero, Esq.

Preparation of a Psycho-educational Evaluation Report by Margaret Kay, Ed.D.

4. Parent Advocacy: What You Should Do . . . and Not Do

As we begin a new school year, parent attorney Leslie Margolis of the Maryland Disability Law Center has some good advice for parents of kids with disabilities. Read What You Should Do . . . and Not Do to learn five things you should do (and four things you should not do) Read article

Learn more about special education advocacy

5. Why Not the Best? - Lessons about FAPE

Many parents ask how to get the BEST program for their child or a program that maximizes the child's potential. Is your child entitled to the best program? To a program that maximizes the child's potential?

For answers to these questions, read Loving Parents Want What's Best: Lessons about FAPE.

The legal concept of “FAPE” is shorthand for “free, appropriate public education.” The legal definition of FAPE is in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA) at 20 U. S. C. § 1401(8) (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, page 27) and the Code of Federal Regulations at 34 C.F.R. § 300.13 (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, page 142).

6. Online Guide To Special Education Rights & Responsibilities

If you have a child with a disability who receives special education services, your child should "have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent living." (20 U.S.C. § 1400(d))

The Individuals with Disabilities Act defines special education as "specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability." (20 U.S.C. § 1410(25))

To answer your questions about FAPE, LRE, IEPs, and IDEA, we built an "online guide to special education" with links to articles, cases, and other resources. To learn more about special education rights and responsibilities, you will want to visit these pages:

Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs)

7. Special Education Legal Advocacy Programs in IN, CT, VA, OK (Fall 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

Pete and Pam Wright are scheduled to do special education legal and advocacy programs in four regions of the country this Fall.

Indianapolis, IN (September 17)

Northeast: Hartford, CT (September 21-22)

Mid-Atlantic: Virginia Beach, VA (November 12-13)

South Central: Oklahoma City, OK (December 4) FREE to Oklahoma parents & educational caregivers

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.
Participants at these training programs will receive two books, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, as part of their registration (Value: $59.90).

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

No Child Left Behind Seminars & Training

If you are interested in training on No Child Left Behind, please contact Suzanne Heath, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind. Sue writes about creative advocacy strategies in her column, Doing Your Homework, which appears in The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter and on Wrightslaw.com. Learn more

8. Free Pubs! NCLB & Students with Learning Disabilities, Reading, IDEA Survival Guide

One obstacle in advocating for a child with a disability is finding the time to do research. We spend hours collecting information so you can spend your time learning, not searching.

When you visit our Free Pubs page, you can download free publications about IEPs, special education, transition planning, reading, children's mental health, discipline and behavior, harassment, high-stakes testing, retention and social promotion, and No Child Left Behind. We continually add new publications, so the contents of the Free Pubs page changes often. Here is a new publication you may be interested in:

No Child Left Behind and Students with Learning Disabilities: Opportunities and Obstacles - Parent advocate and special education expert Candace Cortiella addresses questions about NCLB of interest to parents of kids with LD, and provides a checklist of NCLB-related actions that parents can take on behalf of their children.

Find Free Pubs on dozens of topics.

9. 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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