Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
Protecting the Legal and Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities
|2017 Breakout Session V|
Breakout V - Sunday, March 5, 2017 · 10:00 AM - 11:15 PM
5.1 Advocating for the Elephant in the Room: Using Special Education Advocacy to Address Youth Mental Health Needs
Presenter: Sarah Flohre , Esq.
This presentation provides tools on how to advocate for special education eligibility, appropriate IEPs and placement for youth who are unable to access their education due to mental health conditions (Depression, Anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc.). Often students who do not appear to have learning or attentional difficulties yet struggle socially and emotionally in school, do not receive appropriate special education services to address mental health needs. Instead, the school district may advocate that families seek mental health services outside of school. This presentation provides attorneys and advocates with the tools to ensure a youth’s mental health needs are appropriately addressed throughout the IEP process – from disability classification to classroom accommodations. Also discussed briefly are special education needs that may arise from a youth experiencing trauma, as well as advocacy tools that may be available to attorneys and advocates having trouble getting appropriate services for youth outside of school.
5.2 The Right to Communicate Effectively: The ADA, IDEA, Federal Guidance, Fry, State Action, and Advocacy
Presenters: Tauna Szymanski, Esq., and Samantha Crane, Esq.
This session discusses the law on the rights of students with vision, speech, and hearing disabilities to access communication-related supports, accommodations, aids, and services. The focus is on the ADA Effective Communication regulations and their interplay with the IDEA. Presenters highlight recent federal guidance, judicial activity, state action, and advocacy efforts in this area.
5.3 The Top 40 Chart-Topping District Court Decisions Of 2016
Presenters: Richard L. O’Meara, Esq., and Amy Phalon, Esq.
IDEA hearing decisions initially are reviewed by the federal district courts, and U.S. district judges also handle most cases that raise discrimination or retaliation claims under section 504, the ADA, or the First Amendment. Given this, practitioners need to focus on how district courts have addressed issues of importance to our practice. In this session the presenters offer a somewhat lighthearted, but seriously important, survey of the district courts’ “hit parade” of decisions since the last COPAA conference in March 2016. The focus is on cases the presenters believe are the 40 best district court decisions that should be cited and quoted by attorneys and advocates representing children with disabilities (with fingers crossed that Judith Gran’s 2018 review of decisions from the courts of appeal does not include any reversals of the decisions on our countdown!)
5.4 Organizing Data to Tell Your Story
Presenters: Penny Simpson
Don’t shy away from numbers, use them to your advantage! Learn how to take IEPs, evaluations, test scores, and other data straight from the student’s school record and turn hundreds of pages of information into Charts and Graphs that tell a powerful story.
5.5 Using the Discipline Process to Defend the Criminal Prosecution
Presenter: Robert M. Tudisco, Esq
Understanding the discipline requirements of the law and your client's special needs can be extremely helpful in defending against a criminal prosecution. This seminar works through practical strategies to build an effective defense, such as cross examination and expedited discovery, using manifestation to effectively advocate for mitigation, placement and/or removal to family/juvenile court. Also discussed are legal theory, statistical data and practical examples to help attorneys make the most out of school discipline to defend a criminal prosecution.
5.6 Protecting the Special Needs Child During a Divorce
Presenters: Hillary D. Freeman, Esq., and Shifra Tarica, Esq.
Unique challenges may arise when negotiating a divorce if a child with special needs is involved, including: IEP/504 issues; Guardianship; Government Benefits; Special Needs Trusts and Long Term goals. This session provides participants with an in-depth look of how to highlight and address such challenges with the divorce attorneys when negotiating a divorce agreement to protect the child’s entitlements and avoid future disputes.
5.7 Refusing the Diploma – What to Do When Your Student is Not Ready to Transition to Post-Secondary Life
Presenters: Michele G. Scavongelli, Esq., and Marlies Spanjaard, Esq.
Special education students are entitled to a free and appropriate education (FAPE) and this extends until the student graduates or turns 22. Sometimes, though, students approach graduation and are ill prepared for post-secondary life. Transition services are key to ensure successful entry into post-secondary life, and the omission of these in an IEP can make a student eligible for continued and /or compensatory education. After a brief review of requirements for transition planning, this session will focus on what to do when graduation is being proposed and the student is not ready to transition both through a review of the law and four case studies.
5.8 2017: The Legislative Landscape
Presenters: Laura Kaloi, M.S., Denise Stile Marshall, M.S.
With the change in power in the White House and the politics impacting the US Senate and the House of Representatives following this year's elections, advocates need to understand the change in dynamics, expectations and possible areas of key concern to our community. Learn about COPAA's identified key policy goals, the change in demographics in Congress, and share what's happening in your state.
6/1/2016 » 6/1/2017
Webinar Subscription for Organizations
6/1/2016 » 6/1/2017
Webinar Subscription for Individuals
3/2/2017 » 3/5/2017
COPAA's 19th Annual Conference: 2017 Dallas, TX
3/2/2017 » 3/4/2017
2017 COPAA Conference Sponsorship
3/10/2017 » 7/10/2017
2016 Webinar Series 1: IEP's and Their Components, What You Should Know