Need A Special Education Lawyer? 2 Important Things To Consider
If you have a special needs child, you already appreciate some of the challenges that the parents of such children face. You also appreciate how important the educational development of your child is to their well being.
Frequently parents of children who benefit from special education programs are not pleased with the level of progress in their child's development. Many parents just throw up their hands in frustration, unaware that there is legal help available from highly qualified attorneys who specialize in this area. Here are two things to consider, which will help you determine if you need the services of a special education lawyer.
This is your child and rightfully you will be emotionally engrossed in their life, especially their educational progress. Separating yourself from this emotionally vibrant attachment when confronted with problems can be incredibly difficult. This why you need to seek help when there are questions, or issues stemming from your child's special education program.
Special education attorneys will be attuned to your feelings, but will be able to separate themselves from the situation emotionally. Your attorney will be able to review the facts, and then calmly present you with realistic options. When parents have to deal with a problem associated with the special education needs of their child, it is essential to have the composed, levelheaded guidance of a knowledgeable attorney on their side.
Knowledge & Legal Expertise
Most parents do not have enough time to commit to studying and understanding the many complicated laws governing special education. An attorney who specializes in these areas will possess a firm understanding of these laws, including the guidelines that parents should follow to bring about a desired change.
Initial consultations are often free, so it's worth your time to present your issues to a special education attorney. With a basic overview of your situation, they can explain to you what exactly they will be able to do. While there are other beneficial aspects of your attorney-client relationship that will prove helpful, here are some fundamental things that a special education lawyer can do for you.
- Your attorney will be able to gain access to your child's files and sit down with you privately to discuss this information, without the influence of the school, or special education staff.
- An attorney can request an evaluation by the school and then discuss the evaluation with you to determine what additional steps should be taken.
- Once you've discussed this information, your attorney can recommend that you have an outside agency conduct an individualized educational program (IEP) assessment. This can be a very complicated process. Your attorney will explain the process to you; prepare you for what will happen and how the results may affect your child. Your lawyer also has the right to attend this assessment.
- Once the results are available, your special education lawyer will advise you on the subsequent steps you need to take if you are still unsatisfied. This will include preparing for, and attending hearings on you and your child's behalf. You will be given an honest assessment of your case without any biased influence.
- If you still feel your child's best interests are not being served, your attorney will advise you on how to proceed to the next stage. Your attorney will first request a hearing before the local school board and coordinate that hearing on your behalf. If a satisfactory resolution is not obtained through the results of this hearing, then your lawyer will file your case with the court system, requesting a legal hearing in front of a judge.
Being the parent of a child who needs the benefits of special education can be hard. If you start to experience problems associated your child's educational needs, you should consult with an experienced special education attorney. The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), is an agency that protects the rights of special needs students and can help direct you to a qualified attorney.