The special education attorneys at the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore are dedicated to helping students with disabilities get access to the services and supports they need to succeed in the classroom. The law firm’s 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 and Manifestation Determination Reviews
Many 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 and Disability Discrimination
Unlike 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.
As a parent of a school-age child with a disability, you might be unsure whether your child’s school is properly identifying his or her needs and offering the right programs or services. At times, you may feel that your concerns are being ignored or that the school staff is not sharing important information with you. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed with IEP paperwork. You might wonder how to make sure your child’s needs are being met. Whom do you call for help? You may also worry about the cost of involving an attorney, and whether an attorney may make it seem that you are being too aggressive or confrontational. We recognize and understand these concerns. There are many factors to consider in deciding when to bring an attorney to an IEP meeting, or even when to get advice about your child’s situation. Our practice offers a team of attorneys and legal assistants that are available to assist you depending on your child’s situation and the level of conflict. They are able to provide you with consultation, guidance, case management assistance, and direct advocacy assistance at IEP meetings as well as represent parents in administrative due process hearings and appeals to the federal district courts.
The legal representation available for parents at the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore spans a range of topics and concerns, including:
24 hour residential IEPs programming
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy
Assessment & Testing
Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD/ADHD)
Autism, PDD and Asperger Syndrome
Behavior Problems & Discipline
College/Continuing and Higher Ed
Compensatory Education Awards
Early Intervention (Part C of IDEA)
Emotional and Psychological Disorders
Evaluations, Assessments and Tools
Extended School Year (ESY)
Federal Court Complaints
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
Future Planning and Post-High School Transition Planning, Day Programming, and Vocational Training
Harassment and Bullying
Identification and Child Find
Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs)
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy Rights, Records, FERPA
Procedural Safeguards and Parent Notice
Reading & Literacy
Research Based Instruction (RBI)
Residential Treatment Placements
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Restraint, Seclusion, Physical & Sexual Abuse in Schools
Retention and Social Promotion
Section 504 & ADA: Civil Rights Law and Protection from Discrimination
Speech and Language Pathology
Summer Camp Programs
Twice Exceptional Children (2e)