Evaluating a Child for Disability: The Wrong Way and the Right Way

Teacher - Legal Evaluations

Determining whether a child is eligible for special education is the first critical stage in the process.  Unfortunately, many parents don’t understand the evaluation process or their child’s rights under the laws.  This often creates confusion, especially when the school presents an inaccurate scenario for assessing your child. A Special-Ism reader presented the following (not […]

NJ Gov. Chris Christie is Dyslexics’ Hero?


As of August 2013, the State of New Jersey has taken two giant steps forward in special education law thanks to its legislature and Governor Chris Christie. New Jersey’s special education regulations now officially define “Dyslexia” as a disability (Assembly Bill 3608) and school districts must now provide professional development opportunities for dyslexia and reading […]

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Learning Disabilities and Qualifying for Special Ed Services

learning disabilities and IEP

For many of us, summer vacation is a welcome break from the craziness of the school year.  No homework battles, rigid schedules or projects covering the dining room table.  However, it can also be a great time to reflect on how your child is progressing in school and to ask yourself some important questions about […]

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5 Mistakes You Are Making at the IEP Table


You’ve got your binder full of documentation.  You’ve promised yourself that you’re going to stay calm and focused.  You’ve even made a mental note to start the meeting by saying a heart-felt “thank you” to everyone in the room for working with your child.  That’s a great start!  But, there are five mistakes that most […]

Children’s Medical Conditions and Special Education


Many of the emails I receive about special education are from parents who have questions about a child with ADD, ADHD or a combination of other medical conditions. It is estimated that 3-5% of children have ADD or ADHD, although some studies show as many as 8% of school-aged children have ADHD. Children affected often […]

Before You Call That Attorney…What is Due Process?


“I’m suing my school district.”  I read in an email from an upset parent.  “My child’s school has not correctly implemented his IEP.  In fact, they haven’t done anything right.  My son is failing and I’m sick and tired of it all.  I’m calling my lawyer.  What should I do?” What is Due Process? In […]

Special Education and Understanding Parent Consent


I often get emails from parents stating that their school has implemented some type of program or service without their knowledge or consent. There may be times when the school deems it necessary to interview your child and sometimes a school will place your child into an intervention program without notifying you.  These programs are […]

How to Collaborate with Your School


In December I received a lot of emails from angry, frazzled parents. Grades came in, their child’s behavior had become a serious problem, and they didn’t like their new caseworker. Emotions were running high and a lot of finger pointing was going on. But behind all of the emotion, what I really heard was “I […]

What Is Special Education?


Surprisingly, over three million children in the United States have some sort of specific learning disability or special need.  Schools are mandated by a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to provide specialized services to children who qualify for special education.  Every day, I receive an email from a parent asking […]

What is a 504 Plan?


Parents are not always aware as to what educational options are available to a child who has a disability.  Maybe your child has an anxiety disorder or suffers from frequent asthma attacks and your not sure what the school can provide.  For many children with special needs, a 504 plan is a great way to […]

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