Special Education - Summary
Understanding Special Education
- Every child with a disability is entitled to a free and appropriate public education. Public school districts are required to identify and evaluate all children with suspected disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21 years old.
- Once a disability is identified, the school district must provide an appropriate program of education and related services to allow your child to make academic progress in the least restrictive environment.
- Both federal and state laws contain
strong provisions to protect these rights.
Advocating for your Child
- Parents can and should be the strongest advocates for their children. Unfortunately, many parents feel overwhelmed by complicated laws. They do not understand a special education "system" in which the cards seem stacked against them. Many parents simply are not aware of their procedural rights and the array of services to which their child may be entitled.
- Our office provides legal assistance and support in navigating this complex system. We foster proactive, cooperative resolutions between families and districts for the benefit of the child. If the dialog breaks down, we assist parents in exercising their right to challenge the district, as guaranteed under the law.
- We focus first on educating parents about the legal protections the law affords students with disabilities, from evaluation and classification to implementation of an IEP (individualized education program) which meets their child's needs. We assist parents in advocating cooperatively and proactively for mutually acceptable resolutions when disputes arise between parents and school districts.
- If such resolutions cannot be
achieved, we represent parents at impartial hearings, by
reviewing documents, developing a theory of the case,
researching legal issues, locating and preparing expert and
lay witnesses, conducting direct and cross-examinations at
the hearing, and submitting well-documented written legal
arguments on behalf of clients.
- Consultation and review of your child's records
- Attendance at CSE and related meetings to advocate and negotiate for the student
- Representation at impartial hearings
- Appearance at all levels of appeal, including federal court
- Education of parents regarding special education law and advocacy
- Referrals to other professionals;
including educational consultants, psychologists,