Educational Seminars

This program is available to any group of parents of children with disabilities, without regard to income.

Innisfree provides educational seminars, at no charge, on topics of interest to parents of children with disabilities upon request. Presenters are attorneys who specialize in representing parents of children with disabilities in disputes with their school districts on the appropriate placement and services being provided.

Topics on which we are prepared to present include (but are not limited to):

 The New Jersey “Parents Rights in Special Education” (the “PRISE”).

The PRISE is a brochure required by the state to be provided to parents of children with disabilities by every New Jersey school district. The purpose of the pamphlet is to apprise these parents of their rights. This seminar uses the PRISE as a framework for an overview discussion of the rights of special education students and their parents under federal and state law.

The Anti­Bullying Bill of Rights (the “ABR”)
Developed and Presented in Association with Garden State Equality

New Jersey’s Anti­Bullying Bill of Rights (the “ABR”) has been the subject of much discussion and debate, not only among the families of children with disabilities, but among all families of school­aged children. But parents of children with disabilities, perhaps more so than other parents, should pay attention to the ABR because children with disabilities (a) are often targets of bullying, and also (b) can be tagged as “bullies” based on conduct that is nothing more than a manifestation of their disability.

This seminar explains the content of the ABR, e.g., what conduct is prohibited, and what procedures exist for addressing prohibited conduct. Our GSE presenter will then provide participants with ideas for creating a bullying­free environment in their school. Finally, our Innisfree presenter will discuss the recourse for parents of children who either have been bullied, or who have been improperly accused and punished for bullying.

Section 504 and Attention Deficit Disorder

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”) is an anti­discrimination statute that applies to any recipient of federal funds, most notably (for our purposes) including virtually every public school. Children with disabilities whose challenges do not rise to the level of requiring special education services under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (the “IDEA”) are often nonetheless entitled to a “504 Plan,” i.e., a written documentation of the steps the school district promises to take to avoid improper discrimination against the child on the basis of her or his disability. Examples of common elements to a 504 plan include preferential seating, assistance with note­taking, and extra time on tests.

Attention Deficit Disorder (“ADD” or, with a hyperactivity element, “ADHD”) often falls into the category of disabilities that school districts are reluctant to rely upon solely for an IDEA classification. This seminar focuses on the rights, remedies, and recourse of children with ADD or ADHD (and their parents) under Section 504.

PARCC Refusal: Your Legal Rights and Remedies.

According to the PARCC website, the “Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers.” Most notably, this group has created a standardized test (the “PARCC”), currently administered by every public school district in the state of New Jersey.

Many parents do not want their children to be subjected to the PARCC. This seminar provides parents with information about their rights to “refuse” the PARCC, and their recourse if the school district manifests unwillingness to defer to the parents’ wishes regarding the education of their children in this regard.

Early Intervention in New Jersey

The New Jersey Early Intervention System (NJEIS), under the Division of Family Health Services, implements New Jersey’s statewide system of services for infants and toddlers, birth to age three, with developmental delays or disabilities, and
their families.

This seminar provides parents of children who may benefit from the NJEIS with a “map” of the early intervention system, and guidance about how to advocate for their child.

Developing an IEP for Success!

For students receiving services under the IDEA, the Individualized Education Plan (the “IEP”) is the core document that governs their education. Parents have the right to collaborate in the drafting and development of the IEP, which must be reconsidered and revised as necessary no less than once per year.

This seminar provides negotiation strategies for parents before an IEP meeting, and discusses alternatives to immediately escalating to due process for those unsatisfied with the outcome of an IEP meeting.

Testing, Evaluations, and Classification

Developmental Disabilities are still poorly understood, from the cause to cure. However, there is one widely­accepted fact: Early and intensive intervention can have a profound impact on the quality of life for both children at risk and their families. The key is early detection, recognizing the first signs of a developmental delay or disorder. Are you wondering if your child’s skills are reaching typical guideposts?

This seminar focuses on the following questions, among others:

  • Why would I request an initial evaluation?
  • What kind of evaluation should I seek?
  • When should I request (or permit) reevaluation?
  • What if the district refuses to evaluation my child, or evaluates her or him and refuses to classify?

Goals and objectives

An IEP must include a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals. The term SMART IEPs describes IEPs that are specific, measurable, use action words, are realistic and relevant, and time­limited.

This seminar discusses setting goals, including negotiation strategies for obtaining buy­in from the child study team for SMART goals and objectives.

Alphabet Soup: IEP Qs and As under the IDEA

The content of this seminar, led by an experience special education lawyer, is driven by parents with specific questions about their own child’s IEP. Parents are encouraged to submit specific questions and examples (which can be done anonymously, if the parent wishes) to the presenter, who will respond specifically and then utilize these examples to facilitate a broader discussion.

Transitions and Transition Services

Every transition in child’s life brings on new challenges. When a transition is approaching, the IEP should address how it will be managed, and identify any particular accommodations and/or services that will be provided to facilitate the transition.

This seminar discusses the rights to transition services, and provides an overview of recourse when those services are improperly denied.

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