Special Education

Nigel M. Atwell: Education lawyer for low income and moderate income parents of children with special needs

special education lawyer
Special education laws protect the rights of disabled children to receive an appropriate education.  The Law Office of Nigel M. Atwell represents students with disabilities, and students who have not been identified as having a disability.  The firm will communicate, negotiate, and litigate with schools to obtain the  services and accommodations to which your child may be entitled under applicable law.

Special Education Laws That Protect the Disabled Student

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) is a federal law that mandates special education for children with disabilities from preschool to age 21. There is a wide range of disabilities that qualify for IDEA protections and the disability must somehow interfere with the learning process in order for these protections to apply.  Parents of disabled children are especially challenged to understand and navigate the process of obtaining services required to provide their children an appropriate education under IDEA.

Individualized Education Programs for Your Child

The firm will assist you in obtaining appropriate evaluations for you child, creating an Individualized Education Program (IEP), monitoring its implementation and ensuring that your child is making meaningful academic progress while the IEP is in force.  The IEP should be tailored to address your child’s specific disability or need and the school is obligated to implement the IEP.  There are several key components that must be evaluated and drafted in order to create an effective IEP for your child:

  • Educational Status:  The child’s current academic performance levels
  • Annual Goals:  The goals should be clearly written and student attainment should be measurable by acceptable assessments
  • Instructional Situation and Setting:  The specific placement and instructional tools tailored to the child’s special needs
  • Related Services:  Services such as occupational therapy, speech therapy or behavioral therapy.
  • Transition Service:  For children over 16, evaluation of placement or vocation needs
  • Due Process Hearings:  Third party dispute resolution, to address any inadequacies in the IEP or how it is implemented

We will be engaged with every step in the process of creating and monitoring the IEP for your child, so that you don’t have to navigate the complex legal requirements on your own.  One requirement of the IEP is that it must be offered in the least restrictive environment possible, or at least close to that of non-disabled students.  This is one area to be evaluated closely to make sure that your child is integrated with students who do not have disabilities to the maximum extent possible.

If your child is regressing academically or not making meaningful academic progress, the firm is prepared to represent you in a due process hearing to force his school to provide compensatory education, enroll him in another school, modify his IEP or seek other remedies to ensure that he receives an appropriate education. Please contact us for a free consultation.