Special Education/FAPE


Unfortunately lawyers only take contigency cases in New York city and very bad areas of California because I reckon these are places where lawyers can exploit the board of ed inadequacies with relative certainty. It's difficult for us because the only lawyer we liked on consult doesn't have any kind of flat fee and it's just too overwhelming financially. Most lawyers just want to get you MORE services regardless of whether or not they are helping. The punchline of all this is that my son had a sitter whose a 1:1 aide and he was in love with her and followed her around. Not to say she'd make a better aide but at the very least a child should bond with an aide.  I think my son unfortunately needs an aide because they do NOT train teachers to deal with special ed kids nor will they ever provide a special ed teacher to be part of that childs mainstream ed.  The saddest thing is my son could be a great student. He has to be helped to pay attention by enthusiasm not by robotic rote and then he can really excel.   Since the start of school, they have listed him in the special ed class even though he was mainstreamed more of the day. He doesn't have ANY relationship with the gen ed teacher who has been bad to him.  The special ed class is NOTHING like the part time preschool he attended which had 12 kids and no one had an aide (though I thought there were too many adults in the room given how well the group was doing. If a kid cried, 4 adults would pile on and it NEVER helped). There are NO Peer models in this special ed class. In fact, can you believe sometimes there's only ONE other kid because the few kids in this class are in services. It's utterly unnatural and it follows no curriculum but rather very different IEPS.  One child seems to be there for attention difficulties but has fewer speech issues, one has worse speech issues than my son and another seems to have neither speech or attention issues but is always upset and anxious.  This is not a group that can help eachother. They actually told that with all their staff they couldn't get my son involved with other kids at all. i would be okay with this if I didnt know my son. At his previous preschool a girl in the class liked him alot and took him under her wing and he was thrilled. He didn't talk but he pursued her and that's enough. it's the start.  Just so I can get the order of operations correct, I would have to go through due process before being able to file any civil suit?  It seems more cases are won on appeal than in original hearings, is this something you recommend? Does one have to appeal a hearing result before filing something civil?  
Do you feel schools are judged by what they provide or their results and willingness to adapt? We received a progress report which was laughable, I think someone would laugh at it.  You would either think the child was mute or they are utterly not meeting the child where the child is at and helping them go forward/

I can't say always, but typically civil courts want you to have tried all "administrative remedies," which the due process conflict resolution steps are.  

If I were you I would put them in this order:  1) Formal Complaint to State Dept.; give it some time to see what the effect is; 2) Due Process Hearing (the school district will be represented by an attorney, most parents choose to hire an attorney for that reason, although there is not a requirement that you have a lawyer; 3) If no results, things stay the same then Civil court, although you could file a 504 Complaint in your state's attorney general office, but that isn't a necessary administrative remedy, but it has a lot of power if they determine your child's FAPE is not being met.

Special Education

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr. Norm Bishop


I have spent nealy 40 years in the area of Special Education. I have had the pleasure of teaching pre-school, elementary, middle, high school and college levels, as well as, served in school district administration buildings in classroom/legal support positions. I have also spent some time working in a State Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Office and am now currently Division Head and Director of Institutional Research at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. I also teach special education classes on campus. I have also taught full time teacher preparation at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson Campus, Seattle Pacific University, and at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to that I have taught adjunct at Seattle Pacific University, City University in Seattle, Ashford University, and Grand Canyon University.


I have experienced directly special education legal issues, process and procedure, and have taught at all levels in every special education category except gifted. My major expertise is diagnostic prescriptive teaching, literacy as it relates to disabilities, technology in special education, and Educational Leadership. My greatest passion in the field is building new programs, implementing and doing the research to see how they work. My Dissertation and principle research interest is in the area of inclusive education, primarily co-teaching of students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Council for Exceptional Children, Association for the Supervision of Curriculum, National Reading Council.

Teaching Exceptional Children, Published computer assisted instruction, titled PAL, Special Education Basics, college Textbook, Teaching with Precision, college Textbook, Various devotionals at the website, Preachitteachit.com.

I have a B.A. in Secondary Education, a Masters in Special Education (cross categorical), administrative certification, and a second B.A. in Elementary Education. I completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

Awards and Honors
Best Summer Program in the Nation (Honorable Mention, when I was Teaching) Multiple local awards

Past/Present Clients

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.