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Seattle special education lawyers

Seattle Special Education Lawyers

Seattle-based attorneys protecting the educational rights of children

At Smith McBroom, our Seattle special education attorneys understand that if you have a child with special needs, you may be facing a variety of educational challenges. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience helping people just like you in resolving conflicts with school districts over your child’s educational rights, and ensuring your child gets access to the instruction and services to which he or she is entitled. We will advocate vigorously for your child’s rights, and we can assist you with every aspect of disability law.

Free Case Evaluation

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call 206-677-5941 now or fill out the form above to receive a free, confidential consultation.

What is the IDEA?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that guarantees children with disabilities access to free, appropriate public education. Congress reauthorized the IDEA in 2004 and more recently amended the IDEA through Public Law 114-95, the Every Student Succeeds Act, in December 2015.

IDEA's six principles include:

  • Free appropriate public education (FAPE)
  • Appropriate evaluation
  • Individualized education program (IEP)
  • Least restrictive environment (LRE)
  • Parent participation
  • Procedural safeguards

IDEA also requires school districts to obtain informed consent from parents before evaluating a child.

The law’s protections include programs and support for disabilities and conditions such as:

  • Allergies
  • Asperger’s syndrome and autism spectrum disorders
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Auditory processing disorder
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Developmental delays
  • Diabetes
  • Down syndrome
  • Dyslexia
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Epilepsy
  • Hearing impairment and deafness
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Oppositional defiance disorder
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Processing disorders
  • Sensory integration dysfunction
  • Speech and language impairment
  • Spina bifida
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment and blindness
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What is an individualized education program (IEP)?

An individualized education program, or IEP, is a legal document that outlines the special education instruction, support, and services a student needs to succeed in school.

Here are some key points about IEPs:

  • Who is eligible? IEPs are for a wide range of students with disabilities or conditions that qualify them for special education services in order to provide the best opportunity for them to succeed in the school environment. This can include students with learning disabilities, speech and language impairments, autism spectrum disorder, emotional disturbances, and other disabilities.
  • What's in an IEP? An IEP should include:
    • The student's present levels of academic performance in various areas
    • Measurable goals for the student's progress in each area
    • Accommodations that the student needs to access the general curriculum and meet their goals
    • Related services, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or counseling, that the student may need
    • A transition plan for the student's future after high school
  • Who creates an IEP? An IEP is created by a team of people, including the student's parents or guardians, teachers, special education professionals, and other specialists who work with the student.
  • How often is an IEP reviewed? IEPs are reviewed and updated at least once a year, and more often if necessary.

What is a 504 Plan?

A 504 plan is a yearly accommodation plan for students with disabilities. It is created by a family and a school.

A 504 plan helps ensure that students with disabilities have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to students without disabilities.  It can include a set of modifications and accommodations to help students learn with their peers. Accommodations vary, depending on how long and how limiting the impairment is.

Students with physical or mental health conditions may be eligible for a 504 plan, including anxiety, depression, ADHD, and learning disabilities. For example, a student with autism spectrum disorder may have an IEP for learning supports and a 504 plan for occupational therapy.

Schools often suggest a 504 plan if a child doesn't qualify for special education but needs support.

How can having a Seattle special education attorney help my child?

A special education attorney can be a valuable resource for parents advocating for their child's rights and educational needs. Here are several ways in which our Seattle special education attorneys can help:

  • Understanding special education laws. Our special education attorneys are well-versed in federal and state special education laws, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). They can help you understand your child's rights and the obligations of the school district.
  • Individualized education program (IEP) development. We can also assist in the development of a strong and appropriate Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your child. They can help ensure that the IEP addresses your child's unique needs and that the goals and services outlined are adequate.
  • Advocacy and negotiation. Our attorneys can advocate for your child's rights during meetings with school officials. If disagreements arise regarding your child's education or the level of support your child receives, we can negotiate on your behalf to reach a resolution that best serves your child's interests.
  • Due process hearings and mediation. In cases where disputes cannot be resolved through negotiation, our Seattle special education attorneys can represent you in due process hearings or mediation. This legal representation can be vital in ensuring that your child's rights are protected.
  • Appeals and litigation. If necessary, our special education attorneys can guide you through the appeals process or represent you in court. We can file lawsuits against school districts that are not meeting their legal obligations to provide appropriate education for your child.
  • Ensuring compliance. Our special education attorneys can help monitor and ensure that the school district is complying with the terms of the IEP and providing the services outlined. If issues arise, we can take appropriate legal action.

It's important to work collaboratively with the school district whenever possible. However, having a special education attorney on your side can provide an extra layer of support and legal skill to ensure that your child receives the appropriate education and services.

Do you have a Seattle special education attorney near me?

Smith McBroom is located at 16400 Southcenter Parkway, Suite #210, Seattle, Washington, 98188. We’re right off I-5 and I-405, near Southcenter Mall. There is a bus stop near our office, and we offer free on-site parking.

Our Seattle special education attorneys advocate for your child

Every moment counts in your child's educational journey. Act now to secure the support and resources your child needs. By working with a Seattle special education attorney, you're taking a proactive step toward ensuring a brighter future for your child. If you're facing challenges in securing the appropriate education and services for your child with special needs, consider taking action today by calling our offices or filling out our contact form.

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