Special Education Law

Whether you recently learned that your child has special needs, your child is preparing to enter the public school system for the first time, or you believe your special needs child is not receiving the educational services he deserves, a New York special education attorney may help. The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) is a series of federal laws that ensures children with special needs as the result of a disability receive a free and appropriate public education to ensure they reach their full potential. Early intervention services, tuition reimbursement for private programs, and specialized programs to suit your child’s individual needs are available to you and your child today.

Overview of IDEA

IDEA is designed to ensure that parents of children with special needs are entitled to the same benefits as children who do not require specialized plans. A primary goal of the Act is to provide a free and appropriate public education to special need students “in the least restrictive environment for children with disabilities.”

This means that your child is not only entitled to an educational plan that suits her needs, but the school should not separated her from her peers any more than necessary to reach her educational milestones. To accomplish this purpose, students believed to have special needs are entitled to a free evaluation to (1) determine whether they qualify for special education services and, if so, (2) the nature and extent of those services.

If you believe your child has special needs and is either denied an evaluation or the school determines that your child does not qualify for specialized assistance, do not stop advocating on his behalf. Implementing certain special education programs are expensive, and some public schools may avoid providing those services to your child to meet their bottom lines. Remember, however, that public schools in New York receive federal money to assist them in providing these special services to your child, and you should always speak with a special education attorney about appealing the school’s decision or educational plan.

Infants and Toddlers

Public education plans under IDEA generally only cover children from age three to 21. The question remains, therefore, as to what your rights are if it is clear from birth that your child has a disability, such as Trisomy 21, and you are concerned that he is missing essential physical and linguistic milestones. Early Intervention Services, as they are called, may prove essential to your child’s development, and federal grants are provided for such under IDEA. These services include, but are not limited to:

Physical, cognitive, communication, social, and emotional therapy

  • Assistive technology
  • Hearing and language services
  • Counseling and family training
  • Medical and nutritional services
  • Occupational therapy
  • Psychological services for the family

Your special education attorney can help you discuss taking advantage of these benefits during your child’s critical developmental years with your local New York early intervention office.

Electing Private Education

Some children may need more than what the public school system can provide, or providing for those needs may prove cost prohibitive for the school. In this case, federal law may provide you with private tuition so that your child can attend a school that specializes in working with his disability. Typically, parents may seek private school costs under the following conditions:

  • The educational plan offered by your child’s public school district was inappropriate or insufficient
  • You have tried in good faith to reach an agreement with the public school district regarding the care of your child.

As the parent or guardian of a child with special needs, you likely already know that you have to be her voice and her advocate, but you don’t have to do it alone. Special education attorneys are well versed in federal and state special education laws, and they can fight for your rights and the rights of your child.

Contact the Experienced New York Education Advocates at Goldfarb Abrandt & Salzman LLP Today

Whether you’re preparing for your child’s first educational evaluation, are dissatisfied with their current program, or are simply confused about your rights under IDEA, the attorney advocates at Goldfarb Abrandt & Salzman LLP are here to fight for you. Contact them online or at (212) 387-8400 today for a consultation.


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