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The Special Ed Advocate
 January 2, 2007  
Issue: 372;  ISSN: 1538-3202

Subscribers on January 2, 2006: 45,694

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At Wrightslaw, our mission is to help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to navigate the confusing, changing world of special education.

In This Issue:

1. Note from Pam & Pete about New Format for the Special Ed Advocate
2. Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument in Parental Rights Case on February 27
3. Taking Stock & New Year's Resolutions
4. We Love Success Stories!
5. Your Advice About Accessible Books & Screen Reader Programs Needed
6. Coming Soon! Wrightslaw Programs in NC, VA, DE, CA, and ME!

Do you know others who want to learn how to advocate for a child with a disability? Please forward this issue or the subscription page so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. Many thanks!

1. Note from Pam and Pete About New Format for the Special Ed Advocate

Because many subscribers are not receiving the newsletter on a consistent basis, we decided to adopt a different strategy. We will publish The Special Ed Advocate as a text newsletter and include a link to the "printer friendly" html version. We will measure results and hope this will help to increase the number of subscribers who receive it. If you do not receive a newsletter for two weeks, please send an email to so we can track down the problem.

Our goal is to resolve these delivery problems and continue to publish an informative newsletter about special education law and advocacy issues.

2. U. S. Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument in Parental Rights Case on February 27

The U. S. Supreme Court agreed to resolve the question of whether non-lawyer parents may represent their children in federal court. Oral argument is scheduled for February 27, 2007.

This case has generated intense interest because the Cleveland Bar Association launched an investigation of the Winkelmans and other parents for the Unauthorized Practice of Law after an adverse decision by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

We built a Winkelman v. Parma page that includes:

* Question presented
* Background information about Jacob Winkelman and the issues in his case
* Links to pleadings
* Links to amicus briefs, including the Brief of the United States as Amicus Curiae
* Links to cases about non-lawyer parental representation
* Articles about the case, including the investigation by the Cleveland Bar Association.


Jacob Winkelman v. Parma City Schools

Special Education Caselaw:

Can You Represent Your Child's Rights Under IDEA? by Pete Wright and Pam Wright

Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Asperger Syndrome (AS) Resources

3. Taking Stock & New Year's Resolutions

At this time of year, many folks take stock. We evaluate what is going well, what's not, and make decisions about changes we want to make in the coming year. Good special education services are intensive and expensive. Resources are limited. If you have a child with special needs, you may wind up battling the school district for the services your child needs. To prevail, you need information, skills, and tools. These articles will help.

Getting Started

In Advocating for Your Child: Getting Started, you will learn about different types of advocates and what advocates do. You'll find that advocacy is not a mysterious process. The article includes a quick overview of advocacy skills - many of these skills will be familiar to you.


"Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." - John Wooden, basketball coach

If you are like many parents, you are confused about your role.

In Planning is the Key to Success, we give you an overview of what you need to learn and how to ensure that the school provides your child with quality, appropriate special education services. Learn about long-range planning, your role as project manager, and a program of self study.

Tips for Taking Care of Yourself

Because advocating for your child can be difficult and frustrating, we offer some tips for taking care of yourself.

Learn more about effective parent advocacy.

For more resources, check out the From Emotions to Advocacy website.

4. We Love Success Stories!

In Success Stories, you see how other parents used information, common sense, and resources to resolve school problems ... and get better services for their children.

How We Got an Appropriate Program and Avoided Due Process -"After struggling with our school district for over a year to provide services to my disabled child without success, I knew I had to educate myself on the law."

How I Learned to Get Services by Asking Questions - "When I began to advocate for my daughter, I supported requests with tons of documentation. I was surprised when the "powers that be" would not provide the services and supports. Why was I having this problem? What could I do? Then I realized that the educators viewed me as a 'Know it All Parent' ..."

More Success Stories.

5. Your Advice About Accessible Books and Screen Reader Programs Needed

We want to create accessible versions of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy for people who are blind, visually impaired, and who use screen reader programs. We have received different advice from individuals about what format the books should be in (Word, ascii text, or pdf) to make them accessible to the greatest number of people.

These books were created in Word, imported into a page layout program where they were revised and "designed." The files were exported as high resolution PDF files before they were sent to the printer.

We created an e-book version of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition in pdf but have learned that this may not be accessible to some individuals. If you use a screen reader program, please drop us a line at to let us know what formats work for you (and what formats do not work).

After we receive advice from folks who use this technology, we can make a decision and go forward on this project.

New to Wrightslaw? Learn about other Wrightslaw Publications & Products.

6. Coming Soon! Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy Programs in NC, VA, DE, CA, and ME

Wrightslaw offers a variety of special education law and advocacy programs taught by nationally-known experts in the field.

The Winter schedule includes these programs:

January 26: Charlotte, NC - From Emotions to Advocacy Training sponsored by The Parker Autism Foundation. Speaker: Pat Howey

February 10: Fairfax, VA - From Emotions to Advocacy Training at Virginia Tech NoVa Center. Speaker: Pat Howey.
Registration Form:

February 13: Wilmington, DE - Special Education Law and Advocacy Training sponsored by the Parent Information Center of Delaware. Speakers: Pete and Pam Wright

February 20: San Diego, CA - Special Education Advocacy Training sponsored by the San Diego County Chapter of the Autism Society of America. Speakers: Pete and Pam Wright

February 27: Charlotte, NC
- Special Education Law & Advocacy Training sponsored by The Arc of Mecklenburg County. Speakers: Pete and Pam Wright

March 8: Brewer ME - Special Education Law and Advocacy Conference sponsored by the Maine Parent Federation. Speaker: Pete Wright.

Schedule l Program Descriptions

We are scheduling programs for 2007 and 2008. If you are interested in bringing a Wrightslaw program to your community, please read Conference Information.

7. Subscription & Contact Info

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

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043


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