From Emotions to Advocacy

The Special Education Survival Guide by Pam & Pete Wright

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Section Four teaches you about special education law.

Scales As the parent of a child with a disability, you need to learn how to do legal research. If the school says, “The law says we cannot do what you ask us to do,” you need to research the issue independently. After you read the statute, the regulation, and a case or two, you will know what the law says the school can and should do. Knowledge gives you power.

To understand a legal issue, you should study three types of law:
* Statutory law
* Regulatory law
* Judicial decisions, also known as case law

Read the statute first. Next, read the federal regulation and your state regulation. The regulation usually expands on the statute. Then, read cases that interpret your issue. After you read the statute, regulations, and cases, you will understand the law about your issue.

Do not rely on legal advice provided by school personnel or articles written by others.

You must read the law. In the beginning, this is more difficult than having the law interpreted for you. As you read, the law will begin to fit together in your mind. When you know how the law is organized, you can find sections or regulations that are relevant to your situation.

Each chapter in this section of Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy begins with a short introduction, followed by selected portions of the statute. Following the statute is a Wrightslaw discussion of the law that includes regulations that explain the statute. You will read about the most important laws governing the education of children with disabilities, including:

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

You will learn that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act includes four sections:

  • Part A is about findings, purposes and definitions
  • Part B is about eligibility, evaluations, IEPs, due process hearings, and discipline
  • Part C focuses on the needs of infants and toddlers with disabilities
  • Part D is about grants, research, and training programs

The book focuses on parts of five statutes in the IDEA that are most important for parents: Section 1400, Section 1401, Section 1412, Section 1414, and Section 1415. Many of the statutes about infants and toddlers in Part C are identical to the statutes in Part B.

Each chapter of this section is cross-referenced with Wrightslaw: Special Education Law (ISBN: 1-892320-03-7), the legal reference book that includes the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), implementing regulations, and decisions in special education cases by the U. S. Supreme Court.

When you cross reference, you create a system that enables you to find information quickly.

As you read the statutes in this book, skim through your state special education regulations. Write the page number of your state regulation in this book and in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law.

Cross-reference your state regulations by logging in relevant pages of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law.


Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition - The Special Education Survival Guide (ISBN 1-892320-09-6) by Pamela Wright and Peter Wright is published by Harbor House Law Press.

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy - The Special Education Survival GuideWrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition has hundreds of tips, strategies, references, warnings and Internet resources. This practical, user-friendly book includes:

  • Sample Letters & Logs
  • Checklists and Forms
  • Worksheets and Agendas
  • Companion website at www.fetaweb.com
In this comprehensive, easy-to-read book, you learn to:
  • Develop a master plan for your child's special education
  • Organize your child's file
  • Work with consultants and evaluators
  • Write SMART IEP goals and objectives
  • Use test scores to monitor your child's progress
  • Resolve parent-school conflict early
  • Write effective letters and create paper trails
  • Use parent agendas to improve meeting outcomes

 

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