My law practice is dedicated to representing students and parents who are dealing with education-related legal disputes. I provide zealous legal advocacy and compassionate guidance to help clients resolve their disputes as quickly and inexpensively as possible. I have successfully helped clients throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire address a wide variety of school-related legal issues, including special education, IEP services and placements, 504 plans, discipline and disciplinary hearings, and bullying.
My legal training is supplemented by a Master’s Degree in Education (M.Ed.), a Massachusetts teaching certificate, and most importantly, personal experience dealing with the special education system on behalf of my own child. Because of this experience and interest, I have dedicated the majority of my practice to helping students with special needs and their families. My many years of advocating on behalf of my own child, from Early Intervention through college and into adulthood, allow me to offer the empathy, guidance and understanding that can only come from such personal experience.
Clients range from pre-Kindergarten through Graduate School. Disabilities of my clients have run the gamut of the disability spectrum. Among the more common types of disabilities have been Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS, Dyslexia, Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, Emotional Disabilities, Language Based Learning Disabilities, Specific Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Visual Impairments, Physical Disabilities, Emotional Disabilities and Developmental Disabilities.
I did an internet search looking for some validation as to why some students can pass the MCAS but can’t achieve a semi-decent score on the SAT. As a middle school speech and language pathologist I already know the answer but I was looking for something a little scholarly to reference. Anyway your 2007 paper came up
When Good Intentions Go Bad: The MCAS Graduation Requirement and Special Education Children
Your paper reflects how I’ve been feeling about MCAS since the beginning. In 2002, I proctored a 6th grade boy who clearly could not do any of the math. Sat there and told me how stupid he was and that he would never be able to pass. The reality is because of his disability and learning style I knew he would never be able to come close to passing. I felt cruel making him sit there and take it. With my testing, once they hit I ceiling….I stop. Long story short…I wrote of my concerns to the DOE even invited the head of the DOE at the time to proctor at our school the next year. The only thing I got back was a carefully crafted letter telling me about all the accommodations available.
Now 8 years later RTI……another solution. I have such mixed feelings on it. Frankly because when I first started working in the mid 80ies a similiar approach was being tried. It fell flat and kids lost a lot of precious time. Today RTI is the buzz word. All the articles I’ve seen and consultants I’ve listened to say “the data supports RTI”. I’ve yet to see any hard data. Can’t find it on line and no one can produce it for me. Educational research is big on quoting opinions, as a lawyer I am sure you know that.
I get the impression that every school across the country has a different opinion of what RTI should look like. Even the powers that be within a school have different ideas of what RTI is. I also think a lot of schools are also putting plans in place on paper without a lot of appropriate follow through.
The integration piece is great but I feel the education/training for many of these kids is slipping, many of the kids with mild learning issues are falling through the cracks and many are just not going to get the specialized instruction they need. Have you posted anything on your blog in reference to RTI? Have parents approached you with concerns around the RTI approach for their special needs child? After reading your paper I would like to read your opinion. I can’t see how RTI is going to improve MCAS scores. I even think it will end up dragging them down.
Sorry to go on and on. I’m just really beginning to wonder how parents are reacting to the changes in education.