During their school age years, my mission is to zealously advocate for students with disabilities, focusing on appropriate education in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). I insure that my clients have an appropriate IEP (Individual Education Plans).
To fulfill the above stated personal and professional mission, in my capacity as both an attorney and as a mother of a child with a significant disability, I have chosen to focus my law practice to LRE cases. I seek to represent students who want to be educated in general education classes in the neighborhood schools.
Sometimes the school district is not able to provide FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). I will help with outplacement.
I strive to educate parents, professionals, administrative hearing officers, and the community at large about FAPE and LRE. I do this in my law practice, and also via statewide, national, and international presentations; via my book and other writings; and via teaching graduate level classes.
I attend IEP meetings (known as PPT meetings in Connecticut). Attorneys can get involved in cases on the IEP level to achieve FAPE, winning appropriate services for the student, and hopefully avoid mediation or due process.
If cases come to my office after the family has filed for due process, it is difficult for us to cure any mistakes that happened on the school building level.
I feel it is important to avoid due process. Most hearings are lost by the family. Due process is financially and emotionally costly. However, if the school will not collaborate, I will assist the family in mediation, manifestation determinations, and due process.
I see myself as a valuable member of the IEP team. I try to move teams forward so students can get the services they need.
When individuals with disabilities are no longer eligible for Special Education services, I fight to make sure they are not discriminated against in college, at work, or in the community.