Special Education
Volunteer Training
Equip for Equality’s
Special Education
Clinic
October 2010
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Equip For Equality
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Protection and Advocacy Agency for the State
of Illinois www.ndrn.org
www.equipforequality.org
Private non-profit 501(c)(3)
Provide training, self-advocacy assistance,
legal representation and public policy advocacy
Most services are free at this time
Multiple teams within the agency
Special Education: What You Need to Know
What does Equip for Equality (EFE) Do?
Offers People with Disabilities and their families:
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Information
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Self Advocacy
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Resources
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Legal Representation
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Trainings
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Clinic
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HELPLINE
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TRAINING
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SELF - ADVOCACY
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NEGOTIATION
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MEDIATION
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REPRESENTATION
ASSISTANCE
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OUTREACH
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Helpline
Attorney Telephone Consultation
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Identify issues
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Resources
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Identify goal
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Research
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Discussing parents’
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laws & regulations
options
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Strategies for effective
advocacy
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Pro Bono Support
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Since October 2007, we have been working
with some pro bono attorneys at Chicago-area
law firms
Attorneys represent Equip For Equality clients
on a pro bono basis
Equip For Equality assigns a back up attorney
to support each case that a pro bono firm
accepts
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Laws
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Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement
Act 2004 (IDEA)
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Section 504
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No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Act
(FERPA)
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State Laws and Regulations
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Illinois Student Records Act
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www.isbe.net
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
504 VS IDEA
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504
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If a child has a disability that substantially impairs a major life
activity
Does NOT need specialized instruction
Usually only modifications/accommodations
504 plan – no IEP
504 plan – fewer protections/procedural safeguards
Office for Civil Rights of Department of Education enforces
Mark Weber at Disability Rights Consortium October 27, 2010
www.illinoislegaladvocate.org
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Laws
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement
Act 2004 (IDEA)
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20 USC 1400 purpose
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1401 definitions
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1412 child find, LRE,FAPE
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1414 evaluations, consent, eligibility, IEP, Placement
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1415 Procedural Safeguards
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Purpose of Special Education
Purpose
To ensure that all children with disabilities have
available to them a free appropriate public
education that emphasizes special education
and related services designed to meet their
unique needs and prepare them for further
education, employment, and independent living
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
How long does a student receive
special education?
The IDEA COVERS
 0-3 Early Intervention Services (EI)
– IDEA Part C
– IFSP
– Not governed by school district
 3-22 School District Provides
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3-5 Part B – IEP/IFSP
6-18 Part B – IEP
18-22 Part B – IEP
A student receives special education until the day before his/her 22nd
birthday in Illinois or until he or she receives a high school diploma.
IDEA does NOT cover college
High School Diploma ends IDEA coverage
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
LEGAL STANDARDS
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FAPE
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Denial of FAPE
LRE
Methodology
Related Services
Burden of Proof
Special Education: What You Need to Know
FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC
EDUCATION
FAPE
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC
EDUCATION
FAPE
SPECIAL EDUCATION DEFINED
Specially
designed instruction, at no cost to
parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with
a disability,…
Important
case: Bd. of Educ v. Rowley, 458
U.S. 176 (1982)
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
DENIAL of a FREE APPROPRIATE
PUBLIC EDUCATION
Substantive
–
Issues
At the time the IEP was written was it reasonably
calculated to provide meaningful educational benefit
Procedural
Inadequacies limited
Impeded right to FAPE
significantly impeded parents’ opportunity to
participate in the decision-making process
regarding FAPE
caused deprivation of educational benefits
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Least Restrictive Environment
(LRE) 20 USC 1412(a)(5)
To the MAXIMUM extent appropriate children with
disabilities… are educated with children who are
not disabled.
Removal
 nature
and severity of the disability of a child is
such that education in regular classes
– with the use of supplementary aids and
services
– CANNOT be achieved satisfactorily.
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Basis for Services / Methodology
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IEP must include a statement of special
education, related services and supplementary
aides and services, based on peer-reviewed
research to the extent practicable (1414
(d)(1)(A)(i)(IV))
This puts methodology on the agenda for
the IEP
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Related Services
Related services
 any non-medical service necessary for the
child to benefit from instruction, including
speech, counseling, social work, parent
training, transportation, physical and
occupational therapy, mobility and orientation
training, and any other service necessary to
benefit from education
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Burden of Proof
Filing Party has the burden of proof
Schaffer vs Weast 546 U.S 49 (2005)
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Remedy
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Denial of FAPE
Remedy: Compensatory Education
Student should be brought to the level the child
would have been at but for the denial of FAPE
Special Education: What You Need to Know
SPECIAL EDUCATION PROCESS
How to get a child an IEP
1. Request
2. Consent
3. Case Study Evaluation (CSE, FIE)
4. Eligibility Meeting
5. IEP Meeting
6. Services
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Services
1. Request
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Written Request by Parent, State agency, or school
may initiate request for initial case study evaluation
2. Consent
 Parent can include consent in request letter or
 School must provide parent consent form within 14
days of request
 Domain Meeting
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Services
2. Consent
for Case Study Evaluations

Parental Consent, not request, starts the
Case Study Evaluation (CSE) timeline, which
must be done within 60 CALENDAR days
(IDEA) – a different timeline may be set by the
state. (IL Admin Code: 60 SCHOOL days from
Consent)
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Services
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Request
Consent
Case Study Evaluation (CSE)
Eligibility Meeting –MDC
Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Services
3. Case Study Evaluation
 Variety of assessment tools must be used
 Testing must be done in the “language and form
most likely to yield accurate information on what
the child knows and can do academically,
developmentally, and functionally.”
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Services
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Request
Consent
Case Study Evaluation (CSE)
Eligibility Meeting –MDC
Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Services
4.
Eligibility Meeting –Multidisciplinary Conference
Team of qualified professionals and parents decide
Whether child is a child with a disability
1. Disability – mental retardation, hearing impairment, speech or
language impairments, visual impairments, serious emotional
disturbance (emotional disturbance), orthopedic impairments,
autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments (OHI), or
specific learning disabilities (LD or SLD): AND
2. who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related
services
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Services
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Request
Consent
Case Study Evaluation (CSE)
Eligibility Meeting –MDC
Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
What is an IEP?
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Legally binding
Like a contract but not exactly
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If it isn’t written correctly school will not be
responsible for providing support
Parent cannot sue based on breach of contract if
child doesn’t meet goals
Every special education student has an IEP but
not every child with a disability has an IEP
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
SPECIAL EDUCATION RULE
IF IT’S NOT WRITTEN DOWN
IT DIDN’T OR WON’T
HAPPEN
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Services
5. Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting
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IEP meeting held at least annually
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IEP TEAM
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Parents
Not less than ONE regular ed teacher (if child IS or may be
participating in regular education)
Not less than ONE special ed teacher, or where
appropriate…special education provider of such child
Representative of Local Education Agency (LEA)
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education Services
5. Individual Education Program (IEP)
meeting
 IEP TEAM Continued..
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An individual who can interpret the instructional
implication of evaluation results
Other individuals who have “knowledge or special
expertise regarding the child, including related
services personnel as appropriate”: and
whenever appropriate, the child with a disability
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
IEP Meeting
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Case manager will run the meeting
Informal meeting
Sit around conference table at school
Intimidating for parents
Advise parents to bring an expert or friend if
possible
Best for parents not to go alone
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
What’s in an IEP?
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Present Levels of Performance
Goals & Objectives/Benchmarks
Special Education Services/Supports
Progress Reports
Related Services
Supplementary Aids and Services
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Present Levels of Performance
(PLOP)
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A Statement of the child’s academic
achievement and functional performance –
Present Level of Performance “PLOP”
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
IEP Goals
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A statement of measurable annual goals including
academic and functional goals designed to
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Meet the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to
enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the
general education curriculum; and
Meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result
from the child’s disability
SMART goals – specific, measurable, action-oriented,
realistic, and time-sensitive
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Progress Reports
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The parents need to know about their child’s
progress
The IEP should specify how the parents will be
notified of their child’s progress
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Special Education and Related
Services
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IEP includes information about types of
services a student receives
Examples of related services –
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Occupational therapy
Physical therapy
Speech therapy
Social work
Transportation
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Supplementary Aides and
Services
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Accommodations/Modifications
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Extra time on tests – list amount (ex: double time)
Extra time on assignments
Change in amount of work
Change in grading scale
Change in promotional criteria
Change in graduation requirements
Change in policy – ie. Can carry cell phone
Extra set of books at home
Assignment notebook – staff writes assignments
Copies of notes/study guides
Can include staff training
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
What’s in the rest of the IEP?
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See sample CPS IEP.
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Reevaluation - every 3 years
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Meet to discuss what information the school
already has and what information is still
needed
reevaluation every 3 years UNLESS parent
and school agree it is unnecessary
EFE generally recommends agreeing to
reevaluation
–
It should provide information to show FAPE or
Denial of FAPE
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
CONFLICT RESOLUTION OPTIONS
What to do when the parents
do not agree with the school
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Conflict Resolution Options
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Documentation – Paper Trail
Independent Educational Evaluation
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School can file due process against parent if parent
requests school to pay for IEE
Request an IEP Meeting
State Complaint
Mediation
Due Process Hearing
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
DOCUMENTATION TIPS
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PARENT REPORT
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THANK YOU LETTERS
REVERSE LETTERS
PROPOSAL/REQUEST SHEET
–
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KNOW WHAT’S NEEDED’
Expert Support
FOLLOW UP LETTERS
ORGANIZE DOCUMENTS
TAPE RECORDING MEETINGS
Special Education: What You Need to Know
IEP Meeting
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Determine realistic goals of parents
Discuss arguments parents can make to accomplish those goals,
Draft a letter to the District
– requesting an IEP meeting
– argue for what the student needs in order to receive
meaningful educational benefit
HELPLINE
– ghost write for parent
– Discuss the above with parent/offer to edit their letter
– Refer parent to www.wrightslaw.com “Letter to a Stranger”
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
IEP Meeting
Send the letter requesting IEP meeting to the
District Superintendent and school principal (or if
there is a lawyer on the case, then to the lawyer)
•
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
How should you prepare for an
IEP meeting?
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Have a detailed conversation with the parent
and student prior to the meeting.
Know strengths/weaknesses of your
arguments as to why the student needs what
the parent and student are asking for.
Shadow an EFE attorney at an IEP meeting
prior to your meeting, if you would like.
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
What should you expect at the
IEP meeting?
•
•
•
Review New Evaluations
Discuss Evaluations with parents
Evaluations Not provided before
•
•
•
•
•
Arrive Early for IEP
Request evaluations
Request private space to review and discuss with parent
If HELPLINE – Parent can request to meet with a school
person to review the evaluations prior to the IEP meeting
Strategy: Request Records specifically list new
evaluations – 15 school days to provide records
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
What should you expect at the
IEP meeting?
Negotiating
• If the attorney is willing to talk with you before the
meeting (either the day of the meeting or prior to that
day) about the District’s position on the case, try and
find out what the District is willing to do with the case.
If the District is going to agree with what you want, you
will not have to do as much at the meeting.
Helpline
• If parent can speak with someone at school about
school’s position before the meeting this can be helpful
too.
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
What should you expect at the
IEP meeting?
•
The IEP should be completed at the meeting.
•
•
•
Ask for draft of what is done so far if IEP is not finished.
If the IEP is completed, do not leave the meeting without
a copy for yourself and the parent!
If you disagree with anything at the meeting, inform the
IEP team that you will be writing a dissent on behalf of
the parent and make sure that it is noted on the IEP that
you will be writing a dissent.
Helpline: Advise parent to draft a dissent letter if they disagree
Parent/attorney can dissent letter even if it is not stated at meeting
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
What should you expect at the
IEP meeting?
Negotiation
 There will always be an EFE backup person
available for you to call during the meeting if
necessary.
Helpline
 You may offer to be available, by phone,
during the parents IEP meeting if your
schedule allows. (Fact Specific)
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
What should you expect at the
IEP meeting?
1 week is a good goal for dissent letter NOT a
requirement
Negotiation
•
fax/email the EFE backup Attorney copy of the IEP if
you would like advice on writing a dissent.
Helpline
•
•
Offer to review IEP and/or edit dissent letter that parent drafts
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
What should you expect at the
IEP meeting?
•
If the meeting was not successful, speak with
the parent about what steps you think should
be taken (if any)
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
STATE COMPLAINT
1 YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
1 YEAR EVEN IF COMPENSATORY
EDUCATION REQUESTED
FILE COMPLAINT WITH THE
ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
WWW.ISBE.NET
MUST HAVE PAPER TRAIL TO SHOW VIOLATION
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Mediation
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A meeting between parents and school district
Try to resolve problems without a hearing
Mediator (impartial person) helps both sides try to
resolve the problems
Voluntary (optional) & Confidential
LEGALLY BINDING AGREEMENT
Enforceable in any State court or district court
Due process not required
State pays for this including interpreter
NO Stay Put
Special Education: What You Need to Know
DUE PROCESS
DUE PROCESS HEARING PROCEDURES
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Due Process Hearing

Statute of Limitations

2 YEARS
From the date the parent or school knew or should have
known about the alleged action that forms the basis of the
complaint
Remedy available for past 2 years only
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Filing a Due Process Complaint
The due process hearing request should include–
–
–
–
The student’s name, address, date of birth, parent’s name,
telephone number, and the school the student currently
attends
A factual history describing the nature of the problem
Legal issues in the case
Requested relief
See sample due process complaints in your training manual,
Section 3.
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
What should you expect when you file
for due process?
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

The District will respond to your request within
10 days.
ISBE will assign a hearing officer who will
contact you to schedule the prehearing
conference and due process hearing dates.
You have a right to strike one hearing officer
without cause within 5 days.
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Due Process Hearings:
Similarities to Trials


A due process hearing is an administrative hearing that is similar
to a trial.
You will prepare and proceed like you would with a trial
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Pre-trial motions
Opening statements
Directs and crosses of witnesses
Exhibits
Closing arguments or briefs
The District must pay for a court reporter for the entire hearing.
Prehearing Conference minimum 14 days before hearing
5 days before hearing all documents and final witness list due
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
Due Process Hearings: Major
Differences from Trials
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There is no right to discovery.
The rules of evidence are loosely applied.
The structure is more flexible and relaxed.
The proceedings usually take place at a
school.
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Special Education: What You Need to Know
HELPLINE PROCEDURES
1-866-KIDS-046
Special Education: What You Need to Know
HELPLINE
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Attorney chooses time slots to take Helpline calls.
EFE will transfer live calls to your desk during that time
frame.
Attorney will complete appropriate Helpline
Questionnaire
Attorney, once familiar with these cases reviews the
decision tree and provides the self advocacy
assistance suggested.
Special Education: What You Need to Know
Helpline Questionnaire
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Date of Birth
Race
Income (family’s gross)
County
Federal & Private Funders require aggregate
data on these questions so we must collect it.
Special Education: What You Need to Know
HELPLINE
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Attorney Emails questionnaire to
[email protected]* and
[email protected]
EFE assesses case and emails back a case
assessment decision which could include questions, a
document request, self advocacy assistance, needed
research, or referrals & information.
Helpline Attorney provides self advocacy assistance as
determined above to the family.
Attorney requests any additional information or
documents if needed
Special Education: What You Need to Know
HELPLINE
Attorney shall provide copies of all emails, letters,
notes to [email protected] for her to
place in EFE’s computerized file system.
CLOSING CASE:
 Helpline Attorney will send a closure letter with our
grievance brochure
 Helpline Attorney will complete a closure note and
email to [email protected]

Special Education: What You Need to Know
Questions????
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