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New York State Special Education Law

In 2004, the U. S. Department of Education enacted the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (http://idea.ed.gov/explore/home).  The purpose of this Act was “to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a Free Appropriate Education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.”

Families of children with learning disabilities are often at a great disadvantage when dealing with their school districts in order to ensure that their children get the best possible services.  At GOLDMAN & MAURER, LLP., we will work with the parents and their school districts in order to ensure that their child receives appropriate special education services which address his or her unique needs.

At GOLDMAN & MAURER, LLP., we will assist those families whose children have special needs, including, Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Genetic and Chromosome Disorders, behavioral, emotional and developmental disabilities, anxiety and depression, sensory processing disorders, specific learning disabilities, dyslexia, epilepsy and neurological impairments, apraxia and oral motor delays. Additionally, we will assist parents in obtaining private school placements and, where appropriate, tuition reimbursement.

IEP (Individualized Education Plan)

In order to properly assist and advise the parents of a child with special needs, GOLDMAN & MAURER, LLP., will thoroughly review all relevant documents, test results and evaluations in order to assess the child's eligibility to receive special education services. Once it is determined that your child is eligible to receive special education services, we work with parents and schools to develop and implement an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) which details a program of special education and related services appropriate to meet your child's needs. If your child's disability requires that accommodations and modifications be put in place in order to ensure equal access to the general curriculum, a plan can be developed under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

In Special Education proceedings, GOLDMAN & MAURER, LLP., represents students with disabilities. Under both Federal and State Education Law, students with disabilities have the right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).   When a School District fails to provide a student with appropriate services, GOLDMAN & MAURER, LLP., will represent your child at
CSE Meetings and Impartial Hearings to ensure that they receive the services which they are entitled to under the law.  

Committee on Special Education – CSE

How to Prepare for a Committee on Special Education (CSE) Meeting: A Primer

When the issues your child faces cannot be resolved by minor changes in the classroom or such minimal interventions as speech therapy once a week or after-school tutoring, you may need to turn to your school’s Committee on Special Education. This Committee is the gateway to obtaining special education services to help your child with learning problems.  The CSE is made of up a team of individuals who know your child or his or her school. But the most important member of the CSE is you, the parent.

Any parent considering turning to their CSE should first read the handbook created by the New York State Education Department explaining the special education process and describing the CSE and how to request an evaluation.

Some important things to know about the CSE:

    * The format of the CSE is somewhat different in suburban and New York City schools but the substance of the process remains the same. New York City parents should become familiar with recent changes in many aspects of the Special Education process.
    * The key to eligibility is classification. Only if an evaluation indicates that a student has one of a specified list of physical, emotional or learning disabilities can that student receive special education services.
    * For students with learning and school problems, the CSE will generally classify the student as learning disabled if he or she has substantial difficulty in understanding or in using spoken or written language, which results in substantial difficulty in his or her ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.
    * Students with attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or tourette syndrome, which adversely affects that student's educational performance will generally be classified as other health impairment.

While the classifications or labels used by the legal system may help school administrators, they do nothing for the self-esteem of the children who are labeled. Please keep in mind that children are complex individuals with many strengths as well as some areas of weakness. No child is learning disabled, even when he or she has a learning disability.

The IEP

The Individualized Education Program, universally referred to as the IEP, is the document created by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) which details every aspect of your child’s special education. It functions much like a travel guide to your child’s journey through the school year, setting out the accommodations your child will receive, the educational goals to be achieved and the methods that will be used to reach those goals.

An IEP will also specify the kind of school setting that your child will have (a regular class with support services, a self-contained classroom, or even a specialized school), the ratio of teachers to students in your child’s class, and the services which your child will receive over the coming school year or other relevant period. A good explanation of the IEP and what it can provide can be found as part of a general discussion of special education on the website of Advocates for Children, which is an excellent source for information about education in New York City.

Another, more comprehensive discussion of the IEP and how it is created can be found on the New York State Department of Education website.

Two aspects of the IEP to keep in mind:

    * You, as a parent, are a member of the CSE team that creates the IEP and
    * If you believe that the IEP is not appropriate for your child or is not being implemented properly you have the right to challenge the decisions of your school district. The rights available to you are detailed in a booklet created by the New York State Department of Education.