Athletics and IDEA

Recently, our local newspaper carried a front page story about a high school student on an IEP who was being told by the state’s high school athletic association that he couldn’t play in his school’s football games. According to the article, their rules said he had used up his eligibility to play because he was Continue Reading »

Conflicts of Interest in Special Education: Part 2 – Outside Professionals

Parents are frequently unaware of possible conflicts of interest in special education. As we wrote in our previous blog article on conflicts of interest for school personnel, you must always try to be aware of the subtle, but real possibility that a school employee may act in the best interest of the school district first Continue Reading »

Conflicts of Interest in Special Education: Part 1 – Schools

There is an aspect of special education that often goes unnoticed by parents. It can be subtle, but it is real. It is the possibility of a conflict between the needs of your child and the interests of the people working with your child. Conflicts of interest can affect both school personnel and even outside Continue Reading »

Texas Update… Not So Great

This summer, we wrote about how the state of Texas placed a secret (and illegal) “cap” on how many of its students could receive special education services (Gatekeeping: Texas Style). We described how the Texas Education Agency (TEA) decided in 2004 to place an 8.5 percent limit on the number of students they would allow Continue Reading »

Interpreting the Language of Special Education

Over the years we had many opportunities to read a variety of special education documents. There are all kinds: letters from the school district, progress reports, eligibility evaluations, three-year reevaluations, and of course, Individual Education Programs or IEPs, to name just a few. Parents can quickly become overwhelmed by all this paper, much of which Continue Reading »

Gatekeeping: Texas Style

In a continuation of our series on special education gatekeeping (Withholding Needed Services and Response to Intervention), we have an amazing story to tell about how the state of Texas kept a quarter of a million children with disabilities from receiving an appropriate education. This story actually deserves its own category, as Texas has gone Continue Reading »

Writing a Strong Vision Statement

The vision statement is one of the most important and overlooked parts of the IEP. This statement isn’t a required part of the IEP in the federal law IDEA, but it is required by many states. It’s important because it serves as a guide for developing special education services and goals that will help a Continue Reading »

Advocating over the Long Haul: Handling Stress and Staying in the Game

We are honored to present a guest blog by attorney Robert Crabtree, the author of the foreword to our book, “Parents Have the Power to Make Special Education Work.” The following is a transcript of his remarks to the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) annual special education advocacy conference. The occasion was his Continue Reading »

The Tragedy of an Inappropriate Education

Education is the foundation of a productive and fulfilling life. Education teaches us to read, think, process, and analyze information. When taught these skills, individuals can grow and develop into contributing members of society. We can all agree that this is the goal of an appropriate education. But when is an education “appropriate,” and who Continue Reading »

Avoid “Feel Good” Goals

In examining hundreds of IEP goals, we have noticed that too many just describe hoped-for outcomes and not measurable results. These goals tend to be vague statements of what the IEP Team would like the student to be rather than define a path toward a specific accomplishment. We call these “feel good” goals because they Continue Reading »