Episode 53: Understanding Special Education Law With Guest Jennifer Price
In this episode, we discuss special education law. A special needs attorney is someone who represents the child/family and can consult with the family, help facilitate an IEP meeting, file a due process complaint, and/or can negotiate settlements to ensure that the child is getting the education he/she is supposed to get. A parent may need a special needs attorney if parents have requested in writing an evaluation and they haven't been provided one or if the school continues not to comply with the IEP. One can find a special needs attorney by doing a google search, or using COPAA. When looking for a special needs attorney, you should look for someone who understands the situation you are going through, comprehends your emotional state, and is still able to explains the law and gets the best results they can get. It is highly recommended that parents don't go to the IEP meetings by themselves, in order to have emotional support and to have someone take notes for them.
Start with Child Find and then get an evaluation through the school or have one done on your own outside of the school. However, schools do not have to accept outside diagnoses or evaluations. You can always choose to challenge the conclusion to the school evaluation and request an independent evaluation. A lot of times, the school doesn't accept the diagnosis because they cannot or choose not to provided accommodations or services related to that diagnosis. Make sure IEP goals are measurable goals, so teachers can take data and provide you with progress updates, so you are making sure they are following the IEP goals and that your child is meeting his goals.
When a parent disagrees with the IEP or the classroom placement, you should start out with a conversation with the team. Make sure to document this with a follow up email summary. If this doesn't work, you can file a due process complaint requesting a hearing, you can do mediation, or you can request a facilitated IEP meeting. A due process hearing is a legal hearing with an impartial hearing officer who hears the evidence, with witnesses on both sides who testify. It is just like a regular court case; you get the decision via email but it is a legally binding decision, which can be appealed. Mediation is a process with a meeting with a neutral mediator who sees if a negotiated settlement can be reached. A facilitated IEP meeting is when you want an IEP meeting to resolve outstanding issues but you feeling like communication is poor and you ask the office of dispute resolution to facilitate the meeting. If a parent feels that their child's rights have been violated, you can also file for a due process hearing. If you lose, you can appeal to federal court.
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Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
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Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple
Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.
Copyright 2020 Jessica and Lewis Temple
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