Can A Child with Behavior Problems Survive in a Typical Classroom?

This issue is really getting to me lately.  It seems I have several clients right now who have bright kids who are perfectly capable of doing well in a general education classroom but for their behavior problems.  The schools I'm dealing with often want to transfer the kids to special education classrooms which are exclusively for kids with "emotional or behavior disorders" or to another type of classroom purely for kids in special education, such as a class for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). "EBD" or Other Self-Contained Classrooms EBD classrooms are generally "self-contained" that means that they have only special education students [...]

Can A Child with Behavior Problems Survive in a Typical Classroom?2013-01-27T12:05:55+00:00

Bullying May Violate Disabled Child’s Civil Rights

Bullying is a hot topic in the news lately as well it should.   And as a special education attorney I hear about students with disabilities being bullied frequently.  See this article from StopBullingNow.com and this site EyesonBullying for good advice about what to do if your child is being bullied. The Obama administration is pressuring schools to help curb bullying, particularly when the victim it targeted because he or she has a disability, is gay or is part of another protected group (such as a racial or ethnic minority).  Last week, the U.S. Department of Ed. released some formal federal [...]

Bullying May Violate Disabled Child’s Civil Rights2013-01-26T14:18:20+00:00

Even If You Could Get a 1:1 Aide, Here’s Why You May Not Want One.

I hear it less now than I used to, but parents still routinely ask whether I can help their child get a 1:1 aide (meaning a paraprofessional who is ostensibly hired only to support a single child). My first response is that it's always been very difficult, but due to budget cuts, it's more difficult now than ever.  My next response is that aides are not usually the answer to helping kids stay in a mainstream or gifted class. I recently heard a prominent Miami-Dade school official say at an IEP meeting for a disabled who qualified to be in the [...]

Even If You Could Get a 1:1 Aide, Here’s Why You May Not Want One.2013-01-24T09:42:13+00:00

Can that IQ be Right? Autism and IQ

More and more often I am advocating for children on the autism spectrum who are achieving at or above grade level, but whose IQ scores show them to have below average or even mentally deficient intelligence levels. The IQ score is supposed to represent a person's ability to learn so, how could it be that a child could be learning so well but be mentally retarded? The answer is that it can't be; it makes no sense. New research shows that the IQ scores of children on the autism spectrum may not be accurate reflections of their innate intellectual potential. While [...]

Can that IQ be Right? Autism and IQ2012-12-21T12:24:12+00:00

Finally, Some Good News for Gifted and Disabled!

One of the most challenging and infuriating areas in which I practice is advocating for the gifted and disabled (called "twice exceptional") these days.  I feel particularly passionately about these cases because I fall into the category of twice exceptional (I suffer from multiple learning disabilities) and when I was a student in public school, I was left back in second grade and misdiagnosed as cognitively "slow." I am continually arguing to the school districts in South Florida that a gifted student should not be denied special education and related services soley because they are capable of performing at or above grade level.  I understand that the denial [...]

Finally, Some Good News for Gifted and Disabled!2012-12-06T10:52:34+00:00

Charter Schools Have a Great Opportunity to Serve Sped Students Well

As many of you may have heard, last spring the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a study concluding that charter schools enroll a lower percentage of special education students than traditional public schools.  The latest is that the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has deployed “several broad compliance reviews” to address enrollment as well as legal compliance in charter schools, and that some state legislatures have placed enrollment “targets” resembling quotas in charter schools to “fix” the enrollment problem. This GAO report has gotten a tremendous amount of attention over the last several months.  Some of that attention [...]

Charter Schools Have a Great Opportunity to Serve Sped Students Well2012-11-06T07:53:43+00:00

Testing Makes McKay Scholarships Accountable to Parents – a post from the redefinED Blog

In Robyn Rennick’s post on Florida’s McKay Scholarships for Students With Disabilities last week, she argued that standardized testing measures are “inappropriate,” even “cruel,” for disabled children due to their diverse levels of achievement and in some cases immeasurable levels of progress. But this assumes that standardized testing is a “one size fits all” accountability measure. In reality, there are dozens, even hundreds, of standardized assessments that are designed for every segment of the student population – whether children are learning self-care or calculus.  The choice of test can be left to the private school, not the state. More importantly, standardized testing is perhaps the only way to [...]

Testing Makes McKay Scholarships Accountable to Parents – a post from the redefinED Blog2012-06-22T14:19:40+00:00

Can the ADA Help Your Child in School? Yes, Now More Than Ever!

If you're reading this blog, you've probably heard of the ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act – that’s the landmark piece of civil rights 1990 legislation which requires wheelchair accessible bathrooms, for instance.  But what you may not know is whether the ADA applies to your disabled child in school.  You'd think it would, right?  But then, why does everyone talk about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) all the time?  Well, Title II of the ADA does apply to your disabled child in school.  Not just with respect to students with physical disabilities in wheelchairs, but also to any [...]

Can the ADA Help Your Child in School? Yes, Now More Than Ever!2012-02-15T10:46:40+00:00

Make School Work for Your Child

Did you ever wish you had someone to sit on your side of the table? Not just a lawyer.  Not just someone with first-hand experience teaching kids with disabilities.  But also a passionate advocate for your child's needs.  Well, you've finally found me.  Allison Hertog, the firm founder, is one of only a handful of lawyers in the country who has a Masters degree in Special Education. I founded Making School Work, P.L. because I struggled throughout my school years with multiple undiagnosed learning disabilities. I was retained in second grade and my disabilities were not accommodated nor even understood until [...]

Make School Work for Your Child2019-01-21T09:53:21+00:00

Miami-Dade School District Cut ESE Funding by Over $46 Million, Broward – $32 Million!

If you've heard your child's teachers complaining more than ever about scarce classroom resources - or worse, your child has lost classroom support, such as a paraprofessional or an extra teacher - there's a reason.  The most recent data gathered by Washington, DC - based Advocacy Institute shows that Miami-Dade Public School District has cut special ed funding by over $46 million dollars!  And Broward by over $32 million.  In my work I've seen some kids with Autism or severe ADHD being placed in classrooms with intellectually disabled kids because it's cheaper than giving them the support they're entitled to in [...]

Miami-Dade School District Cut ESE Funding by Over $46 Million, Broward – $32 Million!2011-10-11T14:10:52+00:00