Young girl with down syndrome drawing on desk

If you are the parent of a special needs child, you may well require the skilled assistance of a special education law attorney. If you reside in Louisville or the surrounding area, and feel that your disabled child is not receiving the help they need to grow and thrive with their classmates, contact Shaw & Nelson, PLLC now to discuss your options. Every day that goes by without your child receiving the extra accommodations and services they need is a day of wasted opportunity.

Although federal and state laws to benefit special needs students have become increasingly inclusive and effective over the past decades, they are still inadequate to meet the needs of some children. This is partly because more and more children are being diagnosed with special needs and the schools in many districts are not able to keep up with the trained staffing, technological, and support services needed.

Eligibility for Special Education

There are federal eligibility requirements for special education but individual states may differ in their definitions of particular categories. Don’t worry, our special education lawyers know how to clarify and interpret such differences to the benefit of your child.

The most common disabilities that make a child eligible for special education are:

  • Intellectual disability
  • Developmental delay
  • Hearing impairment
  • Visual impairment
  • Speech impairment
  • Emotional behavioral disability
  • Muscular and/or orthopedic impairment
  • Autism

The state is required to provide students between the ages of 3 and 21 years with an education suited to their needs, even if they are hindered by multiple disabilities.

Special Education Laws Designed to Support Your Child’s Educational Needs 

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that promises a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all eligible children. IDEA sets the standard for the ways in which states and other public agencies must provide:

  • Early intervention, even for disabled infants and toddlers
  • Transitional services for children from early intervention to special education (e.g. through programs like Head Start)
  • Special educational accommodations for children ages 3 to 21
  • Special transportation as needed
  • Related services, such as physical, and occupational therapy, psychological counseling, or speech therapy 

The law requires that these services be provided to special needs children whether they are in a regular classroom, a special ed classroom, at home, in the hospital, or in a residential facility.

Child Find Mandate

Child Find requires that the public schools in Louisville locate and identify all children between the ages of 3 and 21 who require special education and related services. This means schools must make every effort to find such children within their district whether they are living at home, in a residential facility, in the hospital, or are migrants, homeless incarcerated, or wards of the state.

Results-Driven Accountability (RDA)

During recent years, parents, educators, and others began to recognize that although special education services were provided, a great many disabled children were not reaching their potential. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) began implementing a system of Results-Driven Accountability (RDA) in place of a system that focused on demanding compliance with regulations rather than progressive achievement.

Two Types of Special Educational Plans

Depending on the nature and severity of your child’s disability, one of the two types of special education plans below may be appropriate:

Section 504 – A 504 plan provides accommodations so that the targeted student can learn in a regular classroom. Small modifications to the child’s individual learning environment, such as allowing a longer time for tests, can make a dramatic difference, increasing the child’s self-esteem, decreasing their anxiety, and enabling them to make significant academic progress.

Individual Education Plan (IEP) – This plan is the result of a collaborative effort on the part of the child’s regular teacher, special education teacher, and a representative of the school to tailor an individualized program to meet the student’s special needs. In addition to developing an appropriate curriculum, the IEP plan identifies milestones so that the student’s progress can be monitored as specific goals are met.

How Our Attorneys Can Provide Effective Help

Our lead attorneys Aaron Lee Shaw and Natalie Nelson are both deeply committed to improving the field of special education, one case at a time. We will provide you with the professional capability and personal attention you need for your child to make substantive progress as quickly as possible.

Services we offer include:

  • Clarification of state special education laws of Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana 
  • Legal representation and advocacy for your child
  • Awareness of therapeutic options for particularly physical, emotional, and learning disabilities
  • Excellent communication skills when it comes to dealing with teachers, administrators, school psychologists, speech and occupational therapists, other educational professionals, and lawyers who represent school districts

We are well-prepared to level the playing field between you and an educational system that may be ineffective or even obstructive when it comes to getting your child the help they need. 

Contact Our Experienced Special Education Law Attorneys Now

At Shaw & Nelson, we have the legal knowledge and negotiation skills to assist you in getting your child the best possible education. We know how to deal with school administrators who may not seem tuned in to your child’s particular needs. As soon as you contact us, you will feel that a weight has been lifted. We have the empathy to feel your predicament and the determination to resolve it.