Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fees Recoverable in Due Process

Parents who prevail in Due Process hearings may recover their reasonable attorneys' fees.
The “Attorney Fee Recovery” provision of the IDEA allows parents to recover their reasonable attorney fees from the school district or charter school if the parents prevail at due process. The purpose of this provision is to provide parents with access to skilled legal representation.  The provision only applies to attorneys. (If parents use an advocate (non-attorney), the advocate’s fees are not recoverable under the law, even if parents win.)

There is now a bill pending in Congress,the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) Fairness Restoration Act, S. 613 and H.R. 1208, that aims to add recovery of fees for experts.  "Experts" are the witnesses that parents use at hearing to testify about the issues, whether identification, evaluation, placement, appropriateness of services and supports, appropriateness of placement, etc.  These include the psychologists, BCBAs, speech and language pathologists, OTs, PTs, transition experts, etc. 

You can read the proposed legislation on-line at:

Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch supports the proposed legislation, and we ask all parents, clients and friends to support it too. 
Thank you.

Homework Help for Children with ADHD

Homework help for children with ADHD:  

Take Ten

When you first sit down to do homework, take two minutes to put loose papers into the proper folders. Use the next eight minutes to reread notes and/or handouts from school. These 10 minutes will save you hours of searching and studying. You will quickly get into the habit of putting assignments where they belong. Reviewing your notes transfers information to long-term memory, saving hours of study time when test time comes around.

Work in 30-Minute Blocks

Set a timer and limit each study or work session to 30 minutes. Challenge yourself to finish a certain amount of work within that time. The adrenaline rush of the challenge will improve your focus.

Take Five-Minute Breaks

Both your body and brain need frequent refreshers. Set another timer for five minutes, then do jumping jacks, run in place, or stretch. Start another 30-minute block of homework. This sounds too simple to work, but these breaks keep you sharp to get your work done faster. After two weeks, you will find that these five-minute blocks will significantly reduce procrastination.

Create a User-Friendly Planner

A lot of ADHD students who keep a planner forget to use it throughout the day. Always keep it in your main folder or binder, along with a pen in the binding. Use a binder clip to mark your current page. It should take only a few steps to access your planner and to write down assignments and reminders—and you won’t waste time later, calling friends to ask about homework.

Sip Something Sweet

When kids do homework, they should sip (not gulp) a drink with sugar in it, says Dr. Russell Barkley, Ph.D., author of Taking Charge of ADHD. Lemonade or sports drinks are good choices. These beverages deliver glucose to your brain, which is its only source of fuel. The more fuel you have, the more you will be able to work effectively and efficiently. 

Review Your Notes Out Loud

Your brain will process the information in three ways: through your eyes as you read it, your mouth as you say it, and your ears as you hear your own voice. This improves your focus and memory.

Create Test Questions from Your Notes

Writing down questions helps you learn better than reciting or memorizing information. The process forces you to think about the information at a higher level. Higher-level thinking helps you learn more things, thus shortening your study time.

Read Your Textbook: Just Not Every Word

Read through related sections of your textbook, but don’t read every word. Read headings, diagrams, and captions to photos and illustrations to get started. Set your timer and spend one 30-minute block reviewing a textbook chapter. Your enhanced comprehension will help you sail through your homework.

Do a Quick Review Before Class

Review textbook chapters before teachers lecture about them in class. This process gives your brain enough knowledge to help you pay better attention in class. You can reduce study and homework time if you have a deeper understanding of the material.

Get Ready for School at Night

Most ADDers are groggy in the morning, so it’s easy to forget things if you are trying to get organized. Instead, gather all of your folders, books, notebooks, and supplies, and put them in your bag before you go to sleep. When you don’t deal with chaos in the morning, you have more resources to stay focused through the day. The calmer your day, the more energy you’ll have to blast through homework in the evening.

These tips were courtesy of ADDitude magazine.

For More Homework Help:

For more must-have resources on helping your ADHD child address homework issues and develop better study skills, visit the Homework Help Resource Center.
Remember, if you child has ADHD, he or she may be entitled to a 504 or an IEP and the school must then provide, at the minimum, accommodations.  To find out if your child is receiving the accommodations to which he or she is entitled, you may want to visit with an special education attorney who works only with children and their families.

Monday, September 8, 2014

What to do if your child has been restrained at school?

Restraints are methods that restrict a person’s ability to move freely or use one’s body. Restraints are:
  • mechanical (for example, straps)
  • physical (for example, being held by others), 
  • chemical (for example, medications that are used to sedate an individual). 
Restraints (as well as seclusion) have been used by schools to stop behavior.  Restraints, if used at all, must only be used by trained personnel and then only to prevent a student from harming himself//herself or harming others. Unfortunately, schools improperly use restraints (and also seclusion) excessively as a management intervention and by untrained staff, and when behavior is not dangerous.

Arizona has no statute or rules regarding the use of restraints in schools.  However, restraining a child - and secluding a child - may lead to psychological trauma, physical injury, or even death.  Do not let that happen to your child.  If you believe your child is being restrained, notify the Principal of the school and the Superintendent, at least.  (If a charter school, notify the headmaster / head of school.)  If you communicate via phone or in person, follow-up with an email.  Make sure that you have a record of your notifications, complaints and concerns, and email helps you make that record.  Request a meeting.  If you child has a 504, request a meeting immediately with the 504 coordinator, and the school Principal, and anyone else you deem necessary.  If your child has an IEP, request an emergency IEP meeting to discuss.  It may be a denial of FAPE if your child has been restrained on several occasions; at the very least, the school has a legal obligation to find out why your child is engaging in behaviors that are interfering with his or her education.  There are many steps the school should have taken before restraining your child, and the school has an obligation to find out why your child has behaviors that the school is restraining.  Know your rights, what you can do, what the school is legally obligated to do, and what can be done. 

Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch, PLLC