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2015 Webinar Series 1: Parent Rights and Advocacy Strategies for IEP Meetings
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2015 Summer Webinar Series: IEP Series: Parent Rights and Advocacy Strategies for IEP Meetings

S.1  Keeping the “I” in IEE

Thursday, 7/2/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Alexis Casillas, Esq. and Roberta Savage, Esq.



While the law contemplates some restrictions on independent evaluations, school districts seem to be limiting IEE criteria to the point that such evaluations no longer seem independent. This session discusses which criteria are valid, and how to push back when faced with unreasonable limitations.


S.2 Impact of ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits on Learning Behaviors

Thursday, 7/9/2015, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Susan Bruce, Advocate and Mary Eaddy


Description: This session focuses on understanding ADD and executive functioning deficits and their impact on education and implications for academic strategies, supports, and accommodations. The session also focuses on understanding the impact of ADD and executive functioning deficits on behavior, including information on advocating on behalf of a student diagnosed with ADD/ADHD during manifestation determination meetings along with developing behavior intervention plans, addressing school discipline policies, and implications for school-based intervention and supports.  Responsibilities of the LEA under IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the ADA are also presented. 

S.3 Eligibility Checklist: A Simple Assessment Tool

Tuesday, 7/14/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Danielle Tenner and Jill Rowland

Description: This session prepares parents and advocates to argue for eligibility at an initial IEP.  We will provide tips for reading assessments and collecting evidence, and explains how to evaluate likely eligibilities using a simple checklist.


S.4 The “Adversely Affects Educational Performance” Standard In The Determination of Student Eligibility For Children Who Make Passing Grades 

Tuesday, 7/21/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenter: Mandy Leigh, Esq.

Description: This session reviews the cases, federal guidance, and the split among the courts about the “adversely affects educational performance” standard. The IDEA and many state special education laws require that a child “need special education” in order to be deemed IEP eligible. In order to prove that a child needs special education based on a number of factors that are proven primarily through assessment and observation, the child’s disability must adversely affect his or her educational performance. As school districts look for ways to reduce or limit the costs of special education, they are advocating at IEP meetings more and more often - especially in the context of gifted or higher-functioning children - that the child does not need special education because he/she is making passing grades.  In the face of this exclusion, this session discusses what tools parents and advocates can bring to the IEP table to advocate for eligibility when faced with proving the “adversely affects educational performance” standard. This presentation is geared towards parents with some experience with the IEP process. Advocates and attorneys might also benefit, given the failure of the IDEA to address this issue and the lack of conformity in the legal system.


S.5: Issue-Spotting for Advocates:  An Overview of How to Analyze a Client's Case for Effective Advocacy

Tuesday, 7/28/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Mandy Favaloro, Esq. and Carrie Watts, J.D.

Description: Because issue-spotting is closely tied with understanding laws and regulations, it may be assumed that it is a skill left only to attorneys.  However, advocates must understand how to issue-spot in order to be effective in their advocacy.  Advocates are charged with helping parents make informed decisions and with articulating their clients’ concerns and desires.  By learning how to review data and documents - not just for facts and information about a student’s needs, but also for spotting potential issues that may exist - advocates will be better able to assist their clients with formulating sound positions for what they are seeking and to effectively communicate on behalf of their clients.


S.6 IDEA’ s “Placement” Decision: More than Just Location

Date: TBD

Presenters: Jon Zimring, Esq. and Janet Haury,

Description: Placement under IDEA is more than location.  The concepts of change of “location” vs. change of “placement -as well as parent rights and participation - are defined and assessed in this session.  School districts often consider “location” to be solely an administrative decision, and they take it upon themselves to dictate the “location” of services to parents without allowing IEP teams to participate in this aspect of placement.  Participants will better understand when location is an IEP issue under the guiding case law and other authorities. 


S.7 When Is the School Evaluation Appropriate?

Date: TBD

Presenters: Caroline Heller, Esq. and Andrew Feinstein, Esq

Description: The regulations authorizing Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE) permits a school district to avoid having to pay for an IEE where it can “show that its evaluation is appropriate.”  34 CFR §300.502(b)(2)(i).  What does “appropriate” mean in this context?  Is it the same rather low bar that the Supreme Court established in Rowley for determining the appropriateness of an educational program?  Is it a mechanistic test, looking at whether the requirements of 20 U.S.C. §1414(b)(2) and §1414(b)(3) have been met?  Or do the words in Shaffer v. Weast that an IEE “ensures parent access to an expert who can evaluate all the materials that the school must make available, and who can give an independent opinion” mean that appropriate is a very high standard making any sort of second opinion unnecessary?




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