Subj:    THE SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE, VOL. 2, NO. 1 (January 6, 1999)
Date:    1/5/99 9:22:47 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: (Pam and Pete Wright)

The Special Ed Advocate

The Online Newsletter About

Special Education and the Law

January 5, 1999 Vol. 2, No. 1

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information can be found at the end of this newsletter.


1. Update on Wrightslaw Projects

2. News Flash! Judge Rules for Disabled Youth

3. Letter to Webmaster: Blind Trust

4. Letter from Debbie: Kevin is Reading

5. Letter to Webmaster: HELP! The School Won’t Let Me . . .

6. Letter from Dr. Quentin Griffey who writes to say “Thanks!”

7. Contact Information


1. Update on Wrightslaw Projects

One year ago, we sent the draft of our book, From Emotions to Advocacy,
to the editor.
A few weeks later, she met with us and advised that we had “too much
book.” She
recommended that we divide “the book” into three books – one book
written mainly for
parents, one book geared to the needs of attorneys and advocates, and a
law reference
book that will include special education laws, regulations, and selected

Over the past few months, we worked on the special education law book –
called “The I.D.E.A. Book: Special Education Law.” We expected to finish
I.D.E.A. Book” in the fall. Unfortunately, the final regulations
implementing IDEA 97
have not been released yet. We are in a holding pattern until the
regulations are available.

The IDEA Book includes the full text of the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act
of 1997 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, along with the
regulations. The book also includes Pete’s commentary on the laws –and
dozens of
“parent tips.”

As a subscriber to The Special Ed Advocate newsletter, you will receive
an “Alert” when
the Department of Education issues the IDEA regulations. As a
subscriber, you will also
receive updated information about publication dates for our books.

Thanks for your patience and encouragement.


2. News Flash! Judge Rules for Disabled Youth

Jason Galofaro “eats, sleeps and breathes hockey” - but the
Massachusetts Interscholastic Association refused to allow him to play
hockey on his hometown high school team – and perhaps win a college
scholarship. Because Jason has a learning disability, he attends a small
school that does not field a hockey team.

In December, a Massachusetts judge ruled that not allowing Jason to play
for Hudson
discriminated against him because of his disability.

Judge Smith ruled that Jason would be eligible to play for Hudson High
if he were not
disabled and would lose a great deal if not allowed to play, while the
MIAA would
“suffer no significant harm.”

"This is the best Christmas present Jason could get,'' said his mother,
Rose Galofaro. "He
was so used to being told no, he was anticipating the worst. He's

Hours after the ruling, Jason donned his skates for Hudson High on
Tuesday afternoon,
taking part in a practice session.

To read this article about Jason Galofaro, go to


3. Letter to the Webmaster: School Psychologist Warns Parents About

I am a school psychologist and find parents’ blind trust of
“professionals” most
frustrating. When a parent tells me that they aren't educated and . . .
I remind them that
they are THE advocate for their child and encourage them to read and
understand their
rights as the protector of their son or daughter.

Too often, the results of my work show areas of deficit that require
specific remediation.
After the student is brought into a special education program, nothing
happens – except

Most behavior problems (90-95 percent) are directly related to years of
"remediation" with no positive result. The child becomes a teen and
sometimes becomes
violent in order to escape these chronic feelings of failure. If only
parents knew the
stories that are told in IEPs and test results!

I encourage you to continue. It is only through loss of $$ that schools
will begin to realize
their accountability . . . too soon forgotten. More and more often, I
ask myself how can I
continue to work for a system that has such a negative impact on
children? Thanks for the ear.

For the full text of Jan’s letter, go to


4. Update from Debbie: Kevin Learns to Read

A few months ago, we corresponded with Debbie about her son, Kevin.
Kevin is a seven year old boy who has autism. A few days before the
holidays, Debbie sent us this news.

Dear Wrights,

Two weeks ago, I heard talking from his bedroom and peeked in. Kevin was
sitting in his
chair, reading a book out loud to himself. For more than a year, Kevin
said "I can't read.
The words get mixed up." Seeing Kevin read on his own was an experience
that brings us incredible joy.

We had Kevin's parent-teacher conference recently. He is excelling in
math and science.
He consistently aces his modified spelling list tests. The other
students in his class like
him and seek out his company. His teacher and aide agree with us that
reading is the most important priority for this and next year. And I
believe we will accomplish what we
intend, that Kevin will be a fluent reader by the beginning of 4th

I cannot tell you what these things mean to our family. Kevin has a real
chance to get an
education, to be a part of the school community, to grow up as a
"regular" kid.

His dad and I fought to make it possible, but we couldn't have done it
without your help.

The information you provide on your web site is making a positive
difference in the lives
of children.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Most sincerely,

Debbie from New York

You can read our original correspondence with Debbie at


5. Letter to Webmaster: HELP! The School Won’t Let Me . . .

My 5yr old son was videotaped at school (without my knowledge) for the
purposes of a
functional behavioral analysis. At first I was told I could view this
tape before the next
IEP meeting. Next, I was told that I would not be allowed to see the
tape of my son due to confidentiality for other kids on the tape. (The
tape has already been viewed by a
behaviorist and the school psychologist.)

I thought the law states that a parent should be advised of all
assessment tools used to
make an evaluation and that parents should be viewed as an equal
participant in the IEP

I believe I can contribute more to this process if I am allowed to view
the tape and see
what happens before and after my son’s behavior.

How can I get the school to let me view the tape?

I considered paying someone to edit the tape (with a fuzzy black blob
over the other kids
faces to protect their identity). Please help.

What should Linda do?

To read our response to Linda, go to


6. Dr. Quentin Griffey writes to say “Thanks!”

“I received the latest edition of your newsletter and just want to tell
you how much it’s
appreciated. I teach special education at Pfeiffer University and often
use your articles in
class discussions.”

“As you know, 1998 has brought many changes. You have stayed right on
top of things,
as much as is possible!”

“I have subscribed to your newsletter for about a year and continue to
find it to be one of
the best resources on the net.”

To read the rest of Dr. Griffey’s letter, go to


7. Contact Information

Pete and Pam Wright
c/o The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Phone: 804-257-0857

Web site:


Copyright 1999, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights

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be used for non-commercial purposes only.

They may not be redistributed for commercial purposes without the
express written consent of Peter W. D. Wright.

It is not necessary to obtain our consent to link to this website.

Appropriate credit should be given to Pete and Pam Wright and
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