Washington, DC Special Education Lawyers

What is Special Education Law?

Special Education law is a highly specialized, intensive area of the law involving special ed lawyers that represent parents and guardians of children with disabilities and advocating for those children’s rights to school-based services to accommodate those disabilities in the classroom.

My Child Has a Disability, What Rights Do I Have?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) protects students with disabilities from ages three to 22. A parent or guardian of a child with a disability is his or her child’s educational decision maker until the child turns 18. Your rights as the educational decision maker for a student with disabilities (in a school setting and under IDEIA) include:

  • The right to have your child evaluated and found eligible for Special Education services as soon as your child needs those services;
  • The right to have your child evaluated in all areas which your child may have a disability that interferes with his or her ability to progress in school; and
  • The right to have the school develop a plan, or Individualized Education Program (“IEP”), to address your child’s needs as a result of his or her disabilities.

These rights comprise you and your child’s entitlement to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). In other words, your child has a right to an appropriate education that addresses his or her unique needs as a student with a disability, and for that education to come at no cost to you.

My Child’s School District Is Not Providing My Child With Appropriate Special Education Services, What Can I Do?

When the school district is unwilling or fails to provide your child with the services your child needs, or when you disagree with your school district about what your child needs, our office can help. Our Special Education lawyers can provide you with the information you need and can represent you against the school district. Special ed lawyers from our office can:

  • Correspond with the school district on your behalf;
  • Request the school conduct evaluations of your child or identify independent providers in the community to evaluate your child and seek funding from the school;
  • Advocate for you at meetings with the school to make sure that your needs are represented in the development of your child’s IEP; and
  • Help you identify appropriate school programs for your child.

When you are unable to resolve your dispute with the school, the next step is to go to an administrative due process hearing. An administrative hearing is similar to a court proceeding, except that it takes place in a special Student Hearing Office, rather than a courtroom, and is presided over by an impartial Hearing Officer. To help you through this process, special education lawyers from our office can:

  • File an Administrative Due Process Complaint on your behalf against the school district;
  • Ask that your dispute with the school district be heard and determined by an impartial Hearing Officer at an Administrative Due Process Hearing;
  • Guide you through all the steps of preparing for a hearing, including:
    • Advising you on case strategy;
    • Participating in mediation, resolution and pre-hearing conference meetings with opposing counsel or the Hearing Officer; and
    • Collecting and submitting discovery and identifying and preparing witnesses.
  • Representing you at a hearing; and
  • Assisting you with next steps if you win your hearing or lose your hearing and need guidance on how to move forward with possible appeals to court.

Attorneys’ fees may be available for reimbursement to the parent who prevails at an administrative due process hearing or at an appeal in court.

Contact Our Special Education Law Firm

Our special ed lawyers are located downtown on 16th Street Northwest in Washington, D.C. You can contact us at (202) 682-3909 or email us at lawoffice@wulkanlaw.com.