The Special Education Nightmare

​"The Last Straw"You are seeking help because the school has Betrayed you.

   

​​ Why Parents Choose Me To Advocate For Their Children.


If you are like most parents, you trusted the advice and recommendations from your school staff. Now you have come to realize that you cannot trust their advice. From your perspective the schools program is damaging your child as your child falls further and further behind. Under these circumstances feelings of anger and betrayal are nearly inevitable. You may have experienced these factors that have created a crisis for your child.


  • Placed your child in a program that he doesn't belong it despite your objections
  • Refused to provide necessary services because these services are expensive but would establish a precedent.
  • Refused to consider or include private professionals recommendations in the IEP
  • Terminated the child from special education after the child's IQ scores dropped because there is no longer a severe discrepancy between the child's ability and achievement scores.
  • Caused the child to be arrested at school and suspended or expelled the child for behavior that is related to the child's disability.
  • Case Summary

                                                        REAL CASE DECISIONS
  • June 12, 2017
  • A New Jersey district made a costly mistake when it informed a 5-year-old girl's parents that it would hold off on including related services in their daughter's IEP until it had the opportunity to gather more information about her needs. Holding that the district violated the IDEA not only by failing to evaluate the child, but also by failing to develop appropriate IEPs for three consecutive school years, the court ordered the district to pay $265,160 into a compensatory education trust fund. The IDEA requires a district to conduct a full and individual evaluation before providing special education and related services to a child with a disability. However, U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez pointed out that the district in this case did not evaluate the child's need for PT, OT, and speech and language therapy. "Rather, the school district ... proposed to add related services later in the school year in accordance with its usual practice of having the teacher and related service providers evaluate the student's skill levels in the classroom during the school year," the judge wrote. Judge Rodriguez further noted that the IEPs proposed for the 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15 school years did not include the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance or measurable annual goals. Without that information, the judge explained, school staff would be unable to measure the child's progress. The judge accepted the ALJ's finding at 116 LRP 35135 that the child had gone without FAPE for 533 school days. Determining that the child was entitled to 3,314.5 hours of compensatory education at a rate of $80 an hour, the court ordered the district to place that money in a trust to be used for reasonable educational, rehabilitative, therapeutic, or recreational services




At all relevant times, Student was eligible for special education and related services under the IDEA as a student with a disability on the basis of Other Health Impairment due to a diagnosis of ADHD, and Specific Learning Disability in the areas of reading comprehension, math problem solving and written language. 34 C.F.R. § 300.8(c)(9) and (10). 

Student's IEPs during the statutory period were not reasonably calculated to provide Student educational benefit and the services provided by the District pursuant to the IEP did not provide Student educational benefit. Student, therefore, was denied a FAPE from July 7, 2014 to the present and continuing, in violation of 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(W); Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 1760 (1982); Endrew F. at rel, Joseph F. v. Douglas County School Dist. Re-1, 798 F .3d 1329, 1341 (2015). 

The LEA failed to provide Student a FAPE by failing to provide speech and language therapy which were necessary to assist student to benefit from his special education. 34 C.F.R. § 300.34. 

7. The LEA failed to provide Student a FAPE by not developing behavioral supports that were appropriate for Student and adequate to accomplish changes in behavior, resulting in the continuation of behavior that impeded learning and deprived Student of educational benefit. 34 C.F.R. § 30o.324(a)(2)(i); Dear Colleague Letter, 68 IDELR 76 (2016). 

8. The LEA failed to provide Student a FAPE by failing to implement the use of an iPad or similar device as specified in the IEP deprived Student of potentially beneficial services, and constitutes a failure to implement an important provision of the IEP. 

9. The failure of Student's teachers to provide reports to Parents on Student's activities in school and on his progress or lack of progress and to otherwise share denied 

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Student educational benefit and significantly impeded the Parents' opportunity to participate in the decision making process regarding the provision of a FAPE to Student. O'Toole v. Olathe Dist. Schs. Unified Sch. Dist. No. 233,144F .3d 692, 702 (loth Cir. 1998). 

to. Each of the failures to provide a FAPE that are listed above related to a major 

element of Student's special education and related or supplementary services, and the failure to provide them resulted in the failure of Student to make even some educational progress. Endrew F. ex rel. Joseph F. v. Douglas County School Dist. Re-1, 798 F.3d 1329, 1341 (2015). 

11. Petitioners failed to carry their burden of establishing by a preponderance of


I have been advocating for special needs students for the past 24 years. I bring the unique experience of having been employed in the public school system as a teacher, principal, and director of special education. When I retired in 1993, I decided that I was going to advocate for special needs children. I realized that there were so many helpless and desperate parents who were unsure how to access the proper services and support for their children. They were unaware and uneducated about the special education system and its very complicated inner workings. I knew that my experience in the public school system would enable me to provide a unique opportunity to advocate for families. 



DYSLEXIA read more

I am a New Jersey Certified Reading Specialist.

I am a Certified Orton- Gillingham Practioner.

Of all reading programs, Orton–Gillingham has the most research to support its approach.” read more

A good starting point from which to begin your journey into the world of special education. Here you will find information about identification, laws, assessments, interventions and specialized academic support services. As you begin to understand the process you will feel more comfortable attending meetings in advocating for your child.


After an IEP Meeting Have You Ever Left Your School Wondering.

What just happened?  What did I sign?
Is my child getting the best possible services?
Am I asking the right questions? Does this plan really meet my child's needs?


Parents Are Natural Advocates For Their Children.


Who is your child’s first teacher? You are. Who is your child’s most important role model? You are. Who is responsible for your child’s welfare? You are. Who has your child’s best interests at heart? You do.


You know your child better than anyone else. The school is involved with your child for a few years. You are involved with your child for life. You should play an active role in planning your child’s education.

The law gives you the power to make educational decisions for your child. Do not be afraid to use your power. Use it wisely. A good education is the most important gift you can give to your child.


As the parent of a child with a disability, you have one goal.

To ensure that the school provides your child with a “free appropriate public education” that includes “specially designed instruction . . . to meet the [child’s] unique needs . . .” (20 U.S.C. §1401)


Beware of The Gatekeeper.

 

"GATEKEEPERS"  This can be a teacher, therapist, service provider, or an administrator, really anyone who completely overreacts whenever their opinions, responsibilities, recommendations, or expertise are questioned or challenged by the parent or advocate. These are the people who believe that they know it all. Therefore, if a parent implies, or states outright, that their child's special education needs are not being met, they cannot handle it. If you have come to this website I am sure that you have experienced these different personalities. These personalities make unilateral decisions, predetermine services, programs, and placements. They claim to know everything about special education law but the reality is that they often times don't now. They will draw lines in the sand, refuse to budge, and totally discount parents concerns.

 

Special Ed Law & Advocacy:

What laws protect your child?

 Federal Guide 

 New Jersey Parent Guide


We Can Provide Legal Representation


My practice as an advocate is unique in that should we have to proceed to due process, my associates who are experienced special education attorneys, will work hand-in-hand with me to proceed with the due process. At Levine Associates, our work ranges from consultation, such as advice and strategy with regard to a child's Individualized Education Program (IEP), through dispute resolution. We are skilled at negotiation and mediation. We provide zealous advocacy as well as legal representation in administrative hearings before the Office of Administrative Law. We are experienced in state and federal court litigation. We are familiar with the broad range of issues that arise, from the determination of a child's eligibility for special education to obtaining an appropriate in district program, to securing public funding for a private school placement. We represent students with all types of disabilities. At the core of our advocacy, is my commitment to making the law's promise of free appropriate public education (FAPE ) a reality.