LEGAL RIGHTS LAWS

We believe Autism Answers has the top legal minds regarding Special Education. They listen. They are the power equalizer against school districts.

We believe Autism Answers has the top legal minds regarding Special Education. They listen. They are the power equalizer against school districts.​

Legal Rights

Eligibility Criteria Age 0 to 4+ Years Gross or fine motor development

Eligibility for preschool children ages of 3 and 5

In order to receive special education services

In order to receive special education services from the school district, a student must qualify in at least one of eight categories.

Specific Learning Disabilities

To qualify as learning disabled, a severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement must exist in one or more of the following areas:

AND the discrepancy is attributed to a deficit in one or more of the following psychological processes:

When we represent you at Due Process hearings, we make things happen. It’s not just business… It’s personal. School districts are bigger and bigger is good, but smarter is better.

Serious Emotional Disturbances

Qualification in this category is not based on a psychiatric diagnosis, but the student must demonstrate one or more of following criteria:

Autistic like behaviors

A pupil exhibits any combination of the following autistic-like behaviors, to include but not limited to:

Other health impairments

Hearing and/or visual impairments

Language or Speech Disorder

Severe Orthopedic impairment

Mental retardation

Inclusive Education

What is an education advocate?

An advocate is a person who speaks or writes in support of, on behalf of, or in defense of another person or cause. A special education advocate does all of this for parents with children with exceptional needs. An education advocate is a representative that informs parents of their educational rights and assists families in negotiating and resolving disputes with the school district. This helps to secure the best possible education program and appropriate services for children with special needs. An advocate will accompany parents to IEP, Section 504 and other school meetings and provide advice and assistance as needed throughout the IEP process. An advocate will draft letters and written requests to school and district personnel and draft complaints to school districts and the State Department of Education. An advocate will empower, inform, guide and educate parents. An advocate will review IEP documents before you sign them. If one needs to file a complaint or take the case to Due Process an advocate can make recommendations on how to go ahead. Quite often, an advocate can help address the concerns and resolve a dispute. Furthermore, an advocate will help prepare for the IEP meeting-including drafting goals and objectives, reviewing supportive evidence and materials, and provide pointers about the IEP meeting.

Sometimes there is a disagreement between the school district and the parents concerning the rights of the child. When this happens, the parents have the right to take the case to mediation or Due Process. Complaints and Disagreements are handled in a timely fashion. If the school district does not abide by the IEP, the parents can write a letter of compliance complaint to the State who will investigate the matter and make recommendations for resolution. If the parents and the district are in disagreement about any part of the IEP, they can file for mediation or Due Process where a third party can help to resolve the issue. All of these processes are carried out within legal timelines.

School-wide response-to-intervention works!

IEP vs. 504 Plans

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legally binding document. It establishes a plan for an individual student who meets the eligibility criteria. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) describes the educational program that has been designed to meet that child’s unique needs. Each child who receives special education and related services/DIS must have an IEP. The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when age appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the cornerstone of a quality education for each child with a disability because all children in the United States have the right to receive a free and appropriate public education

Sometimes there is a disagreement between the school district and the parents concerning the rights of the child. When this happens, the parents have the right to take the case to mediation or Due Process. Complaints and Disagreements are handled in a timely fashion. If the school district does not abide by the IEP, the parents can write a letter of compliance complaint to the State who will investigate the matter and make recommendations for resolution. If the parents and the district are in disagreement about any part of the IEP, they can file for mediation or Due Process where a third party can help to resolve the issue. All of these processes are carried out within legal timelines.

Section 504 from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

Section 504 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act guarantees an appropriate special education as well as accessibility to regular education programs. It requires that all children with disabilities be provided a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. A person with a disability under Section 504 is any person who (i) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, (ii) has a record of such impairment, or (iii) is regarded as having such impairment. This definition differs from that found in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which defines specific disabling conditions. Because of this difference, some individuals who are not qualified for special education under IDEA may be qualified for special services under Section 504. In addition to students who are eligible under the definition of Section 504 but not under the definition of IDEA, there may also be students who have a disability according to both definitions but do not require special education. For example, some students who use wheelchairs may be qualified under both definitions. They may not require special education, but they may require special accommodations under Section 504. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) have many more restrictions for qualifications, but also provide more specialized services and safeguards. Under IDEA an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is created for each child who qualifies. Accommodations that are available through a Section 504 are also available to students with an IEP. Timelines were created to ensure that the school district and the parents’ responsibilities in all parts of the IEP process are carried out in a timely manner.

Sometimes there is a disagreement between the school district and the parents concerning the rights of the child. When this happens, the parents have the right to take the case to mediation or Due Process. Complaints and Disagreements are handled in a timely fashion. If the school district does not abide by the IEP, the parents can write a letter of compliance complaint to the State who will investigate the matter and make recommendations for resolution. If the parents and the district are in disagreement about any part of the IEP, they can file for mediation or Due Process where a third party can help to resolve the issue. All of these processes are carried out within legal timelines.

Examples

Assessments are completed by the school district in areas of suspected disability.

Examples include:

Program placement is dependent on Least Restrictive Environment. This means that students are not to be segregated from the general education students unless absolutely necessary.

School-wide response-to-intervention works!

Designated Instructional Services (DIS) or Related Services

Available when they are necessary for the student to benefit educationally from his/her instructional program. A child must qualify for an IEP before qualification for DIS is determined. DIS include, but are not limited to:

Some of the Special Accommodations may include

Any student with an IEP or 504 Plan can get special accommodations to help the individual access the curriculum.

IEP’s and IFSP’s (individual family support plan) should include

Goals and Objectives

Written at least once a year. For most students they can be compared to the California State Standards, which are guidelines for what students are expected to learn at each grade level. The goals and objectives are written for all areas of need that are determined by the IEP team. The goals and objectives are an important part of the IEP because they allow for all members of the IEP team to measure the student’s progress. Ask the questions, who will teach, how often, for how much time, how will it be taught, and where?