Do you have a special needs child? Are you concerned about them getting the education experience and opportunities that they deserve? Fortunately, special needs law protects the rights your child has to fair and equal education. There are five main laws that protect special needs education: the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, No Child Left Behind, Individualized Education Programs, and Students with Disabilities and Postsecondary School.
Unfortunately, even with these laws in place, many parents still face difficulty in securing the educational experience that their special needs children need and deserve.
When Should You Get Legal Help?
The process of special needs education is designed for you and the school district to collaborate in developing an appropriate plan and services to help your child without the need for lawyers or court systems. However, Special Education Guide explains that while special needs law attempts to keep the special education process “non-adversarial,” school districts often push back and create barriers. Schools tend to push back when they are asked to do more than just provide the “cookie cutter” approach to special needs education. But as many parents know, special needs education is not “one size fits all.” Unfortunately, school districts sometimes disregard both the law and the needs of their students because they assume that most parents don’t know special education laws or the rights of their children.
If your child’s school district decides to fight back, it’s time at the very least to have a consultation with a special education lawyer, says Special Education Guide.
How Exactly Can an Attorney Help?
Maybe you feel it’s time for some legal assistance in fighting for your child’s education, but what exactly will that look like? How can an attorney help fight for your child’s rights? Keep reading for some specific ways that an experienced attorney can help with your special needs case.
- Providing legal knowledge and experience. Special needs cases can be complex and nuanced. While some cases might lend themselves to self-representation, the more complicated your case is, the more likely it is that you could benefit from some legal assistance. Nolo suggests that, for example, a dispute involving complicated placement and service issues, might require the specialized knowledge and experience of an attorney.
- Ensuring that you have a fair chance at justice. Whether or not your school district has an attorney can be a determining factor in deciding to hire your own. If the school district has an attorney, it’s in your best interest to secure the same protection and leverage for your side of the case.
- Securing your child’s school files
- Requesting an evaluation or an IEP meeting
- Preparing for the IEP eligibility meeting
- Preparing for the IEP program meeting. This includes drafting parts of the IEP for you and suggesting what material will be most effective.
- Attending an IEP meeting
- Reviewing evaluations and IEP forms, before you sign them
- Identifying specific legal issues that apply to your situation
- Helping you informally resolve a dispute with the school district
- Assessing the strength of your case. If you’re considering filing a complaint or lawsuit, you might want an attorney to evaluate the viability of your case first. An attorney experienced in special needs law like Stuart M. Nachbar, Esq. can help you decide if your case is strong enough to invest your resources in, and then provide insight that can increase your chances of winning your case.
- Preparing for and attending hearings
- Writing post-hearing briefs
- Preparing a complaint for you to file with the appropriate educational agency
- Representing you in court
- Saving you time and energy. If you work full time, are a single parent, or have a difficult schedule, you may want someone else to take charge and free your mind of the effort your case will likely require.
In general, families use attorneys to help with their special needs cases in one of two different ways. One path is to hire an attorney to provide advice and assistance as needed throughout the individualized education program (IEP) process while you do most of the work. The other path is to have your attorney be directly involved in every detail of your case as your formal representative. You may choose to have an attorney do everything from beginning to end in your special needs case or IEP process, or you may have an attorney only handle certain tasks. Whichever path you choose, Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar is here for you and your family! Call (973) 233 4049 or send a message online. We serve clients in Livingston, West Orange, Newark, Belleville, Clifton, Irvington, East Orange, Paterson, Passaic, and Verona.
Tel: 973) 567-0954