If you’re concerned about how special education laws affect your child in Washington, D.C, you should discuss your situation with Matthew Famiglietti. Mr. Famiglietti is a lawyer who has experience representing students who are differently abled. Often disabled students face greater learning challenges within a typical education setting that significantly exceed what abled classmates face. Additionally, they may face neglect, abuse, discrimination, or harassment. There are laws in place to protect them. A Washington, D.C. education attorney may be able to help you.Special Education Laws
There are a few different federal laws that protect children with disabilities so that they can receive an appropriate education. These include the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Additionally, the local District of Columbia Human Rights Act protects a child from discrimination and harassment.The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)
Under IDEA, children with disabilities can obtain free special education in public schools from preschool to age 21. In order to be eligible, their disability must interfere with their learning process. As a parent, it can be difficult to understand and figure out the process of getting a disabled child services so that he or she can get an education under IDEA. Learn more about your child’s options by speaking with an education lawyer in the Washington, D.C. area.Individualized Education Programs
If your child is found to be eligible for special education services, you’ll need to work with the school to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP is a formal contract that specifies what kind of support and services the school will provide for your child. Education and services for children with disabilities must be provided in the least restrictive environment and if appropriate, disabled children should be integrated in a typical education setting with students who don’t have disabilities.
An IEP should be reviewed every year and updated as needed. It will include guidelines for how a student can achieve educational goals, current performance, and participation in general education.
Your child’s school should perform evaluations of the IEP and monitor your child’s progress. When it’s possible, your child’s school should provide appropriate therapies, such as occupational, speech, or behavioral therapy, and integrate the child in a classroom with other children who don’t have disabilities. If your child is over age 16, he or she may need a transitional evaluation; this can assist with figuring out what jobs might work for him or her in the future.
Sometimes a team putting together or implementing an IEP does not succeed in helping a child or is unresponsive to a child’s needs. In that case, it’s possible to either file a complaint with the district’s special education administrator or exercise your right to a due process hearing. It’s wise to retain an education attorney working in Washington, D.C. who understands your child’s rights at the due process hearing.Due Process Hearing
If your child’s IEP was not implemented appropriately or was not properly developed in the first place, we may be able to fight for your child’s rights at a due process hearing. The due process hearing allows both you and the public education agency to share your perspectives on any controversies that come up under IDEA to an impartial and trained hearing officer. The officer is not employed by Washington, D.C.’s public education system. The hearing officer can make a final decision the dispute or disputes in your case. If you or the school disagree with the decision, you can appeal the issue to the court. Specific procedures need to be followed when asking for a due process hearing. While you can represent yourself, a due process hearing is formal and can have huge ramifications for your child’s education. Usually, schools have greater familiarity with the process and more resources than a single family.504 Plans
Your child who is differently abled may need accommodations in order to make sure he or she can be successful within their learning environment. A 504 plan can be developed to make sure accommodations are provided to those children who have disabilities that meet the legal definition in elementary or secondary school.Consult a Washington, D.C. Attorney
If you are concerned about your child’s or your own legal rights in connection with special education, you should discuss your options with Washington, D.C. education lawyer Matthew T. Famiglietti. Mr. Famiglietti represents clients in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Call the Law Office of Matthew T. Famiglietti at (202) 669-5880 or complete our online form.