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Special Education Law

Every child has a right to a free and appropriate education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other State and Federal laws. If your child is having trouble in school, either socially or academically, the source of the problem could be a lack of proper special needs education services tailored to your child's specific needs. 

Powers Grewal A Professional Law Corporation in Anaheim, CA, can provide effective guidance and skilled legal representation to help you ensure that your child's needs are properly fulfilled. Attorneys Michelle Powers and Punam Patel Grewal are experienced in special education law and will work with you every step of the way. For more information, contact us to schedule your free consultation today.

“Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor

Our Areas of Practice

 in Special Education

Powers Grewal is committed to providing services for families and children who require specialized legal services in a variety of forums. We offer the full range of special education representation, from IEP advocacy to federal court litigation. Throughout the course of a typical representation we normally obtain school and medical records, prepare and file due process hearing requests, provide representation at early resolution sessions, mediations, IEP meetings, disciplinary proceedings, and OAH administrative hearings. 

Our attorneys help students from the ages of three through 22 who qualify or should qualify for special education and related services in their local public school districts. 

The scope of our practice includes a variety of special education-related issues, including but not limited to:

  • Bullying and harassment
  • Student safety
  • Special Education eligibility
  • Implementation
  • Suspension and expulsion
  • Violation of Federal Discrimination laws
  • Charter School Law
  • Individual Education Program (IEP) Advocacy
  • Disciplinary Proceedings and Manifestation Determination Hearings
  • Mediation, Early Resolution Meetings, Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Due Process Hearings
  • 504 meetings 
  • Expert referrals and Independent Educational Evaluations
  • Regional Center Law
  • Charter School Law

As a service to our special needs community, we also organize and participate in workshops and seminars at no charge to parent and student oriented groups.

Disabilities

Powers Grewal can provide the skilled and knowledgeable representation to children with disabilities and their families in order to enforce their legal rights. We have a proven record of excellence in serving special needs individuals in public school districts throughout Southern California with all types of educational disabilities, including but not limited to:

  • ADD/ADHD
  • Articulation deficits
  • Dyslexia
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depression
  • OCD
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Autism (ASD)
  • Auditory processing disorders

Our firm’s practical experience, knowledge, vital community partnerships, and understanding of diagnoses and assessments help ensure each student is provided with an education truly tailored to meet his or her individual needs. 

A young woman hands a toy to a girl in a wheelchair.
IDEA guarantees all children the services they need to get the education they deserve. 

Understanding IDEA: Special Education Law

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) is our nation’s special education law. It sets high standards for their achievement and guides how special help and services are made available in schools to address their individual needs.

Since 1975, the IDEA has ensured that all children have equal access to a Free, Appropriate, Public Education (or “FAPE”) in the Least Restrictive Environment. U.S. Congress passed this law so that children with diverse disabilities could access the services and protections they require to succeed. The IDEA ensures that the rights of students with disabilities and their parents are protected.   

For students with disabilities, a “FAPE” may include individualized special education and related services that prepare these students for further education, future employment, and independent living.

Eligibility and Child Find

To receive special education services and protections, however, children with disabilities must first be identified appropriately. The “Child Find” mandate within the IDEA provides the foundation for the disability identification process. The U.S. Congress established the mandate to require school districts to proactively identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities. The mandate applies to children from birth through age 21 who are suspected of having a disability.

 The IDEA ensures that the rights of students with disabilities and their parents are protected.   

Unfortunately, attorneys and advocates across the country have found that children are not receiving the timely evaluations that are guaranteed under federal law. Instead, students face delays and denials in services that jeopardize their educational success. Across the United States, state and local education agencies are failing to fulfill their federal obligations to identify, locate, and evaluate all children who are suspected of having disabilities. School districts may use a variety of tactics to delay and deny special education evaluations, including waiting for students to fail and ignoring parent requests for IDEA services. As a result, unserved children are falling behind academically, developing anxiety and depression, and even dropping out of school entirely.

Categories of Eligibility for IDEA

To qualify for services under the IDEA, children must be identified as having at one of 13 categories of disabilities, and the disability must adversely impact the child’s educational performance. [See 34 C.F.R. §300.8.]
The 13 categories of qualifying disabilities include:

  1. Autism
  2. Blindness
  3. Deafness
  4. Emotional Disturbance
  5. Hearing impairment
  6. Intellectual disability
  7. Multiple disabilities
  8. Orthopedic impairment
  9. Other Health Impaired
  10. Specific learning disability
  11. Speech or language impairment
  12. Traumatic brain injury
  13. Visual impairment

Special Education Supports and Services

What kind of special education supports and services does your child need to access their education? Some common IEP services and accommodations for children with the following disability profiles include:

  • ADHD: classroom aides, school counseling, medication administration, positive reinforcements, parent counseling, adjusted class schedules and extended time for homework and tests
  • Autism: classroom aide support, behavior support/intervention plans, occupational therapy for sensory processing needs, speech/language therapy for pragmatic communication deficits, social skills training.
  • Emotional Disturbance: educationally related mental health services (e.g., in-school counseling), wraparound services (e.g., parent counseling), classroom accommodations, specialized placement or residential treatment
  • Speech/Language Deficit: group or individualized speech therapy, assistive technology, and specialized academic instruction
  • Specific Learning Disabilities: specialized academic instruction, tutoring, classroom accommodations, assistive technology, research-based reading or math interventions (e.g., Lindamood Bell)
“A child uneducated is a child lost.”

John F. Kennedy.

Parental Participation

Parental participation is an integral part of developing your child’s educational program. Many parents are unaware of their rights to be active members in the development of their children’s individualized education programs (IEPs).

The IDEA helps parents by requiring school districts to follow certain procedures so that parents can participate at IEP meetings and help develop their children’s individualized educational plans. For example:

  • The IDEA states that parents are mandatory members of the IEP meeting, and districts must take steps to ensure parent attendance and involvement.
  • Districts also must “take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the parents understand the proceeding of the IEP team meeting, including arranging for an interpreter for parents...whose native language is other than English.” 34 C.F.R. §300.322(e) (2015).
  • The IDEA allows parents the right to review and inspect their children’s educational records. 34 C.F.R. §300.613 (2015).

Evaluations

The IDEA requires school districts to evaluate ALL areas of your child’s suspected disability. [See 34 CFR 300.304, 20 U.S.C. 1414 (b)(1)-(3), 1412(a)(6)(B)]. 


What do you if you have concerns about the District’s evaluations? Do the evaluations leave you with questions about what your child really needs for an IEP? Are the evaluations inconsistent with past information/evaluations you reviewed? Were the evaluations conducted in your child’s native language?

A parent can disagree in writing with the district’s evaluation and request an IEE at the district’s expense.

If you have concerns about the district’s evaluations, you may want to consider requesting an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). An IEE is “[a]n individual evaluation of a student with a disability or a student thought to have a disability, conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the public agency responsible for the education of the student.” [34 CFR 300.502 (a)(3)(i).] Independent educational evaluations are valuable because they can help provide a better understanding of your child’s needs from the perspective of a neutral third-party expert.

How do parents go about requesting an IEE? A parent can disagree in writing with the district’s evaluation and request an IEE at the district’s expense. A parent is entitled to only one independent educational evaluation at public expense each time the school district conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees. [34 CFR 300.502 (b)(1) through 34 CFR 300.502 (b)(2).]

About Powers Grewal

Powers Grewal is a special education law firm which represents children with disabilities and their families throughout Southern California. We work in cooperation with parents, advocates, experts, and caregivers to obtain appropriate educational programs and benefits to which students are entitled under state and federal law.

Powers Grewal also provides low-cost and pro bono representation to qualifying families. 

Who We Serve

Our attorneys help students from the ages of three through 22 who qualify or should qualify for special education and related services in their local public school districts. Powers Grewal offers assistance to clients in a range of public school districts and local educational agencies throughout San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles, and Ventura Counties.

Powers Grewal also provides low-cost and pro bono representation to qualifying families. We are especially proud to serve the Spanish-speaking community with a multilingual staff. Our offices are based in Anaheim, with convenient access to all major freeways.

Find Out How We Can Help

To learn how our experienced lawyers can protect your rights, contact us online or call (909) 243-2239. We offer flexible scheduling, and the initial consultation is free.

Location

Anaheim Office

Stadium Towers Plaza
2400 E Katella Ste 800
Anaheim, CA 92806

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Anaheim Office

Stadium Towers Plaza
2400 E Katella Ste 800
Anaheim, CA 92806

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