Special Education Law is what we do
We're attorneys dedicated to helping students with disabilities get access to the services and supports they need to succeed in the classroom. Our work on behalf of students is comprehensive and ranges from one-time informational consultations with parents to litigation in due process hearings and federal court.
INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP)An individualized education program, or IEP, is a written document that governs a child's special education program. To be eligible for an IEP, the student must have a qualifying disability (such as autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, visual impairment etc.) that affects his or her learning. All IEP's must include a statement of the student's present level of performance, must list strategies for instructing the child and accommodating his or her disability, and must contain academic (or behavioral, if necessary) goals. A school must implement the IEP as it is written and revise it annually.
BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION PLANS / MANIFESTATION DETERMINATION REVIEWSMany children have disabilities that result in disruptive, problem behaviors. For these students, the IEP should include a behavior intervention plan ("BIP") that addresses the problem behaviors. When a child with a disability violates a code of student conduct, the school must hold a manifestation determination review (MDR) before the student can be suspended or expelled. The purpose of an MDR is to determine whether the student's conduct was a "manifestation" of the disability. If the conduct was not a result of the student's disability, the student may be punished as any other child. Conversely, if the conduct was a manifestation of the student's disability, the school must revise the BIP and return the child to the placement he or she was previously in.
SECTION 504 / DISABILITY DISCRIMINATIONUnlike an IEP - which is designed to help students succeed academically - a Section 504 plan is designed primarily to ensure that children with disabilities have equal access to the school and its facilities. Discrimination against children with disabilities is prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a result, schools develop Section 504 plans to ensure that students with disabilities are not discriminated against. For example, if your child uses a wheelchair, he or she should have a Section 504 plan that explains which accommodations and modifications are necessary to ensure equal access to school classrooms, gyms, and other facilities. Similarly, for a student with ongoing medication or healthcare needs, a Section 504 plan will address the administration of medicine, the attendance policy as it relates to doctor's visits, and other needed modifications to the learning environment.
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