SPECIAL EDUCATION FAQS
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?
You do NOT pay any attorney’s fees out of your pocket. Ever. All of our special education cases are accepted on a contingency basis. To discuss how this is possible, please contact us for a no-obligation, free initial consultation and case evaluation.
WHO WILL BE HANDLING MY CASE?
All cases will be accepted under the firm. However, Natashe Washington will be handling and working on your case. She will also be your primary contact for any of your questions or concerns.
WHAT IS A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION AND CASE EVALUATION?
A free initial consultation and case evaluation is a preliminary meeting of the client and attorney.
Because each child’s needs are different, a consultation is absolutely necessary for an attorney to determine the merits of your case. While clients are encouraged to come in for a face-to-face meeting, the initial consultation can be done by telephone as well.
Please contact us to schedule a meeting.
WHEN ARE YOU AVAILABLE?
We try to accommodate your schedule and will meet you for a free consultation and case evaluation at your convenience.
We will respond as quickly as possible, but within 24 hours.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY INITIAL CONSULTATION AND CASE EVALUATION?
After the first meeting, our attorneys will have a better idea of whether your child’s school district failed to provide your child with a FAPE (explained below).
If we believe there is a likelihood that your child was denied a FAPE, we will then contact your school district to obtain all of your child’s records for review. This helps the attorneys determine what services and support your child has been receiving, and what the school district should have done.
We will then discuss your legal options with you and counsel you in making an appropriate decision. If warranted, a due process complaint will be filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Our attorneys have an established record of successfully representing children with all types of special needs through due process complaints. Our expertise has led to obtaining necessary services through mediation and negotiations in most cases.
We will represent your child’s interests from beginning to end, pursuing litigation if necessary.
WHAT LAWS GOVERN SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS?
Both federal and state laws govern special education programs in California. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 provides your child the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et. seq.
The California State Department of Education (CDE) has also created similar state laws. 5 CCR § 300 et. seq.
WHAT DISABILITIES ARE ELIGIBLE?
Children must have an eligible disability to receive specialized educational services under IDEA. Some eligible disabilities include: Specific Learning Disability(SLD) – this could include dyslexia, dysgraphia, nonverbal learning disability etc, Hearing impairment, Deafness, Visual impairment, including blindness, Speech or Language Impairment, Orthopedic impairment, Intellectual Disability, Traumatic Brain Injury, Other Health Impairment, Emotional Disturbance, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Deaf-blindness, and other identifiable disabilities.
WHAT IS FAPE?
Under IDEA, your child is guaranteed a FAPE, which is a “Free Appropriate Public Education”.
“Free” means at no cost to the parents. Your school district is responsible for providing an appropriate public education.
“Appropriate” has recently been redefined by the 2017 Supreme Court decision of Endrew F. vs. Douglas County School District. The Court stated that a “school must offer an IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances. In clarifying the standard, the Court rejected the “merely more than de minimis” (i.e. more than trivial) standard applied by the Tenth Circuit. In determining the scope of FAPE, the Court reinforced the requirement that “every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives”.Because of the complexity of these legal terms, it is strongly encouraged that you seek the advice of an experienced special education attorney to determine whether your child’s school district is providing an appropriate IEP. Contact us for a free consultation.
WHAT IS LRE?
LRE stands for “Least Restrictive Environment”. It reflects a statutory and policy-based belief that children with disabilities should be educated with non-disabled children to the maximum extent possible.
Each child’s needs are different and whether or not your child was/ is placed in the least restrictive environment should be carefully considered with an experienced attorney. Contact us for a free consultation.
WHAT IS AN IEP?
IEP stands for an “Individualized Education Program”, and it’s just that – an individual educational program designed specifically for your child. Each IEP is designed by an IEP team at an IEP meeting.
There are statutory guidelines which require certain individuals to be a member of your child’s IEP team, as well as how frequently the IEP meetings should be held.
The law requires each IEP to include certain things, including, the child’s present educational level, measurable annual goals, progress reports of the child’s progress towards those goals, necessary services and support, and so on.
Again, because each child’s IEP is very specific to his/her individual needs, it is important to contact an attorney.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?
In California, you may file a due process complaint against your child’s school district for issues within the past two years. Cal. Educ. Code § 56505.
A due process complaint is filed through the Office of Administrative Hearings.