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News & Views - Oct, 1999 Issue #62

Special Education Law
1999:Harbor House Law Press:Hartfield, Virginia. 
384 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches
Book Review by Lon Woodbury
September, 1999 

Any child with behavior problems might have a disability as defined by law. Parents and professionals need to understand the legal definition of “disability” to determine whether that child is entitled to special rights, and if so, how to access resources that can help the child in the way the legislation was intended. This is a relatively new, and complicated area of the law that few attorneys adequately understand. Any parent (or professional) working with such a child must be able to advocate for that child based on a solid understanding of the legal facts. Personal knowledge of “the facts” enables the parent to better serve the child than they could by merely depending on information given by school administrators or other professionals possibly influenced by priorities such as budgetary considerations, or myths and misinformation. 

This well organized book contains the text of the major federal legislation and regulations relating to Special Education, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Family Educational Rights and privacy Act. The book also includes a casebook of special education decisions by the U. S. Supreme Court. As the author says, “Ignorance of the law can be as damaging as the child’s disability.” This book goes a long ways toward providing relief from confusion and misinformation, and should be on the desk of every professional that works with “at-risk” children, and every parent that has a child with problems. 

Co-Author Peter W. D. Wright has represented children with disabilities for more than 25 years. He represented Shannon Carter before the U.S. Supreme Court in Florence County School District IV v. Shannon Carter where he won a landmark victory that benefits all children with disabilities. 

Pamela Darr Wright is a psychotherapist in private practice. She has written dozens of articles about special education advocacy for parents and attorneys. 

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law can be ordered with free postage from Woodbury Reports Inc. through its web site, or by phoning 208-267-5550. 

Copyright © 1999, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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