Autism & Education Law

See also:    IEP Development    Legal Rights   

Internet Resources

Special education information.
Sets forth evaluations that shall be conducted, minimum criteria the child shall meet, and requirements that the team shall determine whether a child needs special education or EI/ECSE services.
Greater Albany Public School District 8J
A handbook written to help parents of autistic children understand the complex web of special education laws and obtain appropriate special education services for their children.
Jill Escher
Try to maintain a good working relationship with the doctors, therapists, and teachers who work with your child. I have heard many stories of parents who are at an impasse with their child's teacher or school administrator. It is heartbreaking to hear of a child who is unable to receive services due to a breakdown of communication. At times such as these, tempers flair, and drastic measures are often employed. Although there may be occasions when legal action should be taken, it is always wise and in everyone's best interests to try to maintain a good working relationship with your child's service providers. Remember to encourage them, and to thank them for a job well done. Remember that they are people too; a kind word, smile, or friendly handshake can go a long way toward healing damaged relationships, or even preventing breakdowns from occurring. This does not mean that you should "sugar-coat" everything you say to others; in fact, it is best to tell the truth, even when that is difficult. However, remaining respectful and professional even when there are tough issues to be dealt with, can prevent a multitude of problems and ensure that a mutually supportive environment is maintained.
Laurel Hoekman
In a closed-door meeting last week, the SAD 55 School Board voted to appeal a federal court ruling made Jan. 30. The ruling, made by US District Judge D. Brock Hornby held the district responsible for providing for the special education needs of a girl diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. The appeal will be made to the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. At the meeting, district school board met with Eric R. Herlan of Drummond Woodsum & MacMahon, who represents SAD 55 in the case. In a written opinion, Herland called Hornby's ruling "breathtakingly broad."
Sue Melanson
What follows is a compilation of ESY standards discussed by various federal courts throughout the country.
Nissan Bar-Lev
A York County girl who suffers from Asperger's syndrome is entitled to special education services even though she completes her homework, behaves well in class and scores well on tests, a federal judge ruled. In his ruling, Hornby said the girl's parents demonstrated that the disability adversely affects her educational performance "and is thus eligible for special education under (federal law) due to her Asperger syndrome and her depressive disorder."
IDEA is a federal law that guarantees a free and appropriate public education for every child with a disability.
Defending children's right to special education provision in the UK.
IDEA guarantees that all children with disabilities have available to them...a free appropriate public education which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their needs...
An increase in the percentage of students identified as needing special education does not necessarily mean that there has been an increase in the percentage of students with disabilities, any more than an increase in reports of domestic violence necessarily means there is more domestic violence.
Jay P. Greene, Education Week
A hostile environment may exist even if there are no tangible effects on the student where the harassment is serious enough to adversely affect the student's ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program.
United States Department of Education
The Step by Step autistic school in East Sussex opened in April this year because parents felt that local schools could not cater for their children's special needs.
David Harrison
A federal judge yesterday found the Henrico County school system knowingly and repeatedly failed to provide a system of instruction suitable to a severely autistic child. In a 79-page opinion laced with criticism of the school system's compliance with education disabilities law, U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne sets hearings to determine what Henrico schools should pay for failing to meet federal standards of care.
Bill McElway, Times Dispatch
Discusses education in Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand.
Mitzi Waltz
We believe that all publicly-funded special education programs, placements and services should be required to be effective and efficient and humane. We know that many, at this time, are 'none of the above.'
Dee Alpert,
...charges that children with special needs have been suspended, expelled, transferred, discharged or otherwise removed from city schools without adequate notice, without being informed of their legal rights, and in some cases without required procedures.
Elissa Gootman, New York Times
"We don't know what it is that he's not getting," she said... it could be any number of things -- vocabulary, a different format on the test than he is used to, or even unclear instructions. "The whole test has set these kids up for failure," she said.
Barbara Behrendt, St. Petersburg Times
On behalf of Medscape, Randall White, MD, interviewed Jill G. Escher, BA, MA, JD, a California attorney in the field of autism law, whose son has autism. Like many parents, she met resistance from the school district when she attempted to have her child evaluated for special educational services. To assist other parents who face this situation, she discusses pertinent laws, policies, and procedures intended to protect children with autism.
Randall White, Jill Escher, Medscape
The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted to protect individuals with a disability from discrimination in the workplace. The ADA, though, does not cover special education programs designed for children with disabilities in school settings. This has led to many negative results for children with disabilities. In this article, the author argues that by focusing on the student's disability in the classroom, we are actually impairing the student's chances to look past his disability and see himself as an individual who can make a positive contribution to society. Rather we need to provide an environment that fosters learning for all students so that each student has an equal opportunity to excel.
Alan Gartner
How Will NCLB Affect You? l Report Cards & Statistics l FAQs l Information Directories Law, Regs, Guidance Pubs, Policy Letters l News & Commentary l Research-Based Instruction Flyers, Fact Sheets, Newsletters, Power Point Presentations
School officials claim that their zero tolerance policies must be applied to all children, disabled or not, to be effective. However, the special education laws, which are based on federal law, override local policies such as a zero tolerance policy.

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