Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WRIGHTSLAW Coming to Phoenix, February 2017

Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy Conference 2017


Presented by Kirsch Goodwin & Kirsch Pllc & Parent Support Arizona

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What is special education?

Attorneys Lori Kirsch-Goodwin and Hope Kirsch from Arizona's Special Education Law Firm, Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch, discuss special education and specialized instruction.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Revisions to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

Revised ADA regulations should ensure that more students with disabilities qualify for a 504 even if they did not before.  Effective October 11, 2016, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA Amendments Act or the Act), which took effect on January 1, 2009 was amended broadening coverage to more individuals with disabilities.  New sections were added to Title II and Title III of the ADA regulations to set forth the proper meaning and interpretation of the definition of “disability” and to make other related changes required by the ADA Amendments Act in other sections of the regulations.
The revised regulations expand the definition of “major life activities” by providing a non-exhaustive list of major life activities that specifically includes the operation of major bodily functions. The revisions also add rules of construction to be applied when determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity. These rules of construction state the following:
—That the term “substantially limits” shall be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA;
—that an impairment is a disability if it substantially limits the ability of an individual to perform a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population;
—that the primary issue in a case brought under the ADA should be whether an entity covered under the ADA has complied with its obligations and whether discrimination has occurred, not the extent to which the individual's impairment substantially limits a major life activity;
—that in making the individualized assessment required by the ADA, the term “substantially limits” shall be interpreted and applied to require a degree of functional limitation that is lower than the standard for “substantially limits” applied prior to the ADA Amendments Act;
—that the comparison of an individual's performance of a major life activity to the performance of the same major life activity by most people in the general population usually will not require scientific, medical, or statistical evidence;
—that the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures other than “ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses” shall not be considered in assessing whether an individual has a “disability”;
—that an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active; 
—that an impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not substantially limit other major life activities in order to be considered a substantially limiting impairment. The final rule also states that an individual meets the requirement of “being regarded as having such an impairment” if the individual establishes that he or she has been subjected to a prohibited action because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity. It also provides that individuals covered only under the “regarded as” prong are not entitled to reasonable modifications.
The ADA Amendments Act's revisions to the ADA apply to title I (employment), title II (State and local governments), and title III (public accommodations) of the ADA. 
The changes include:
The addition of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as an example of a physical or mental impairment;
The addition of “writing” as an example of a major life activity;
The “regarded as" prong is clarified; the burden is on a covered entity to establish that, objectively, an impairment is “transitory and minor” and therefore not covered by the ADA.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Upcoming presentation for families, advocates and providers: 17th Annual Autism Society of Greater Phoenix Conference

Legal Track Track

9:00-10:00    Resolving Special Education Disputes:  Behind the Scenes with a School Attorney, Parent Attorneys and a Former State Complaint Investigator – Heather R. Pierson, Esq., Maureen Ringenoldus, M.Ed., Hope N. Kirsch, M.A.(Ed.), Esq., and Lori Kirsch-Goodwin, Esq.- Have you ever had a problem, disagreement or dispute with your child’s school?  Ever wonder whether you have a “case”?  Ever wonder how best to resolve the issue?  This is a unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how a parent attorney evaluates your case, how a state investigator investigates, and how a parent attorney negotiates with the school attorney to resolve the issues to avoid Due Process.

10:30-12:00  3 Hot Topics in Special Education-Bullying, Discipline and Placement vs Location- Hope N. Kirsch, M.A.(Ed.), Esq. and Lori Kirsch-Goodwin, Esq. – Special education attorneys will walk parents and professionals through the legal ins and outs of three of the most pressing issues that students with disabilities encounter. Parents and professionals will understand the legal rights and protections that both the parents and student have in the areas of bullying, discipline and placement/location decisions, and parents and professionals will improve their advocacy skills and learn how to handle these special education issues and disputes with confidence.

Upcoming presentation: Special Education Legal Disputes Involving Students with Autism

Special Education Legal Disputes Involving Students with Autism
This course, presented by two nationally recognized special education attorneys, will provide a comprehensive overview of the different laws applicable to the education of students on the autism spectrum, including the IDEA and the Americans with Disabilities Act, focusing on issues and cases involving students with autism, and providing an overview of DSM-V and its impact on special education eligibility. The course is for school attorneys, parent attorneys, disability attorneys, educators, school board members, and attorneys in other practice areas who have an interest in special education law. In this guide to special education laws impacting students with autism, our experienced faculty will walk you through the differences between DSM-4 and DSM-5 as it applies to students with autism, legal ins and outs of proving need for eligibility for students on the spectrum, services, supports and placement of students on the autism spectrum, as well as discipline and bullying and harassment of students with autism. Learn how to handle special education legal issues for this unique population with confidence.
Key topics to be discussed:
  • Laws impacting students on the autism spectrum, including the IDEA and the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • IEP versus Section 504, IDEA and Due Process versus the ADA and OCR
  • Evaluations and Proving Need for Eligibility of, and Autism Label for, Students on the Spectrum
  • IEP’s for Students with Autism
  • Disciplinary Issues Involving Students with Autism
  • Bullying and Harassment of Students with Autism
  • Avenues of Dispute Resolution for Students on the Autism Spectrum