Subj: THE SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE, JUNE 14, 2001 (V. 4, NO. 16)
Date: 6/14/01 11:56:26 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: webmaster@wrightslaw.com (Wrightslaw)
Reply-to: webmaster@wrightslaw.com
To: special-ed-advocate@lists.wrightslaw.com (THE SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE)

Highlights: New article about parent advocacy; federal judge allows lawsuit for damages in special education case; P2's Mailbox - Pete and Pam answer questions.

Subscribers as of June 13 2001: 25,923

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1. NEW ARTICLE: ADVOCATING FOR YOUR CHILD - GETTING STARTED

2. FEDERAL JUDGE ALLOWS LAWSUIT FOR DAMAGES IN SPECIAL EDUCATION CASE 

3. P2's MAILBOX: WHAT SHOULD I ASK FOR? HOW CAN I GET SERVICES? 

4. SUBSCRIPTION & CONTACT INFO

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1. NEW ARTICLE: ADVOCATING FOR YOUR CHILD - GETTING STARTED

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.

On the journey from emotions to advocacy, you need to learn about your child’s disability, educational and remedial techniques, educational progress, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and how to artfully advocate.

You need to learn how to present your concerns and problems in writing, prepare for meetings, and search for win-win solutions. You need to use your emotions as a source of energy and power, and how to focus on getting an appropriate education for your child.

NOTE: "Advocating for Your Child - Getting Started" is based on a chapter from our new book, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy - The Special Education Survival Guide that will be published later this summer by Harbor House Law Press. At the end of the article are links to the Table of Contents, Index and Early Reviews of the book.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/advocacy_intro.htm

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2. FEDERAL JUDGE ALLOWS LAWSUIT FOR DAMAGES IN SPECIAL EDUCATION CASE 

Long-term subscribers know that the U. S. Department of Education has not required states to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Act. In "Back to School on Civil Rights," the National Council on Disability found that no states were in compliance with the procedural requirements of the law (full IDEA Compliance Report is available in the Law Library).

Can courts force state departments of education to be accountable? 

"In what may be a landmark decision, U.S. District Judge David Ezra ruled Wednesday that parents of special needs children may be entitled to millions of dollars in damages from the state for out-of-pocket money spent on their children, lost income and even emotional distress."

"This is a terrifically significant decision that could affect probably thousands of families in the state of Hawaii," attorney Carl Varady said. Varady represents families of special needs children."

"But Wednesday's decision was rooted in the case of 6-year-old Amber Nahale. Amber needs two-to-three hours of therapy a day to overcrome autism. The Nahales also have an autistic son."

"While the state is legally obliged to pay for the therapy, it didn't for several years, forcing Amber's parents to pay thousands of dollars for therapists."

Can Judge Ezra force Hawaii to be accountable? Read about this important case:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2001/hawaii_lawsuit.htm

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3. P2's MAILBOX 

Here are two questions that came in this week from parents who asked for advice.

WHAT SHOULD I ASK FOR?

QUESTION: "My son's due process hearing is scheduled later this month. I hired an attorney who specializes in Due Process Hearings because of this attorney's expertise. My attorney sent an email and asked: 'Is there anything else you want in a settlement?'"

"Do you have any suggestions about what I should ask for?" 

ANSWER: Attorneys should ask clients what they want. If they don't ask, they won't know and you are likely to be disappointed in the outcome. Attorneys assume you know your child better than they do. And they are right!

Since we are not familiar with your case, we are not in a position to give you advice about what your child may need.

If you are not sure what you want, ask the experts who are involved in the case for their suggestions about what your child needs. They will be able to give you some guidance and specific recommendations.

For more help, visit our new Topics page:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/topics.htm

* * * * * * * *

MY CHILD'S RIGHTS ARE BEING VIOLATED - HOW CAN I GET SERVICES? 

QUESTION: "Although I read your newsletters I am still at a loss about how to represent my child in getting the services he needs and is entitled to. He is is nine years old and has been diagnosed with ADHD, Tourettes Syndrome, and Bipolar Depression."

"I am fighting a losing battle with the special educators about providing my son with the services he is entitled to. After many confrontations and persistent insistence, he was placed in an self contained class for emotionally disturbed children for one hour a day. The teacher disagrees that he needs services. His IEP has not been reviewed, nor have I received
any reports about his success or efforts."

"I am extremely frustrated. I have been told by friends that my son's rights are being violated. What should I do?"

ANSWER: You need to get out of the loop! 

Have your child evaluated by an expert in the private sector who is knowledgeable about your son's neuro-behavioral conditions AND special education. Ask the evaluator for recommendations about your son's educational needs. Ask the evaluator to attend the next IEP meeting to explain to the school what your son needs.

About the statements that your son's rights are being violated: Complaining that your child's rights are being violated is not the way to get better services. You need to learn about effective advocacy. Read our articles about how to write letters. First, read the "Letter to the
Stranger."

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/Letter_to_Stranger.html

Next, read "The Art of Writing Letters."

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/DRAFT_Letters.html

You can get these and other articles in the Wrightslaw Tactics and Strategy Manual.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/bkstore/ourbooks/tactics_strategy_manual.html

Relations between you and the school are polarized. The harder you push, the more the school will dig in. Most school personnel believe they know what's best for children -- including your child. If you disagree with them, they believe you are wrong. This leads to conflict. These problems are not unique to you, your child, special education, or your school district - this is the nature of the parent-school relationship.

Our new book, FROM EMOTIONS TO ADVOCACY: THE SPECIAL EDUCATION SURVIVAL GUIDE, describes these issues and what to do. The book will be published later this summer. For more information, please visit our Publications page:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/mainpage_pubs.htm

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4. SUBSCRIPTION & CONTACT INFO

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, tactics and strategy, and Internet resources. Subscribers receive announcements and "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books.

To subscribe, please go to http://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm

Back issues: http://www.wrightslaw.com/main_newsletter_archives.htm

To unsubscribe, see the information at the end of this newsletter.

Link to Us. Nearly 1,000 sites link to Wrightslaw. If you want to spread the word about special education advocacy, download a banner or image from:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/link_to_us.htm

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

Website: http://www.wrightslaw.com 
Email: webmaster@wrightslaw.com 

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