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Special Education Advocacy

Special Education Advocacy

Key Differences Between Section 504 and IDEA

As the parent of a child with special needs, you are probably familiar with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, also known as IDEA, as well as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Although there is a relationship between the two statutes, they have different objectives. Section 504 is intended to eliminate barriers that exclude persons with disabilities or, in other words, to create a level playing field. This federal law is designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education.

Special Education Advocacy

ADHD and Parent Advocacy

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in children. Affecting an estimated three to five percent of children worldwide, ADHD can cause symptoms that last into adulthood. Children diagnosed with the disorder have to work on controlling impulsive behaviors and managing their attention issues, while their parents must keep a careful watch on their educational experience. School performance is one of the most common ways that a child is identified as having ADHD.

Special Education Advocacy

Planning for the Future: A Common Concern

With an estimated 21 million families in the U.S. having at least one family member with a disability, your family is not alone. Also common with such families is the need for special needs planning. Have you planned for the future of your loved one with special needs? Perhaps your loved one’s needs are currently being taken care of in terms of finances, health and quality of life—but what about when you pass on? Although such topics force us to consider our own mortality, it is in the best interest of your loved one to think about things such as a letter of intent and special needs trust.

Special Education Advocacy

Parents Should Prep for an IEP Meeting

If you are the parent of a child with special needs, you already know that a meeting is required at least once a year with school officials to discuss your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Education is one of the most important things in a child’s life, so it pays to be prepared. What specifically…

Special Education Advocacy

Special Education Amendments

NY Education Deptartment Proposes Special Education Amendments September, 2010 – In New York State, students with disabilities are protected not only by federal regulations such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (“IDEA”) and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”).  There are several state regulations that protect the rights of students…

Special Education Advocacy

The Importance of Letters of Intent

While it’s important for the parents of a child with special needs to provide for the child’s financial well-being in their estate plan, it’s equally important to address the issue of transitioning to life with a new caregiver. That’s the purpose of a letter of intent, which is intended to assist future caregivers by describing…

Special Education Advocacy

Teacher Evaluations to Be Tied to Test Scores

Newly signed legislation has significantly altered the process for evaluating public school classroom teachers and building principals by including consideration of student test scores. The procedure for evaluating incompetence cases has also been changed, partially with the intention of expediting the process. A single arbitrator (rather than three) will now be required for cases “based…

Special Education Advocacy

Rosa’s Law

Senate Proposal Would Eliminate Use of Term “Mentally Retarded” Words hurt, and it has long been recognized that language shapes perception. So when Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) proposed Rosa’s Law, which would replace the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in federal programs, it marked significant progress for people with developmental disabilities. Rosa’s big brother,…

Special Education Advocacy

Considering the Possibility of Continuing Education in Special Needs Planning

Some children with special needs may wish to continue their education beyond high school. It is important for these students and their parents to understand what rights they have at a post-secondary institution, and to know how those rights differ from the rights they had in high school. Post-secondary institutions may not discriminate against students with disabilities, but they are not required to identify the special needs of their students as public schools are.

Special Education Advocacy

The importance of writing a Letter of Guidance

When you can no longer care for a loved one with special needs, a Letter of Guidance can help make their transition to a new living situation go as smoothly as possible. The Letter of Guidance, written on the premise that no one knows a child better than a parent, contains important information about your loved one’s history, likes, dislikes, current health and emotional status, hopes and dreams, as well as what your wishes are for their future.