Tag Archives: Special Education Law and Advocacy

A Decade Without Bill

Published on June 21, 2012 by Jennifer Laviano

mobile spy free Ten years ago today, my dad, William “Bill” Laviano, died.  I have written about him before, and his profound influence on me and on special education advocacy in Connecticut.  As this sad anniversary has been approaching, I’ve been trying to think of something to write that will appropriately honor him.  I’ve been […]

Fictitious Thinking: The “New” Definition of Autism

Published on January 21, 2012 by Jennifer Laviano

Do you remember the character Cassandra from Greek mythology?  Her curse was that she could accurately predict the future, but nobody would believe her when she warned them about it. Today I feel like Cassandra. In 2009, I wrote a blog post about the impending changes to the definition of “autism” in the DSM-V.  I […]

Um. Okay. Thanks.

Published on July 15, 2011 by Jennifer Laviano

So, I already have a page of Ridiculous Comments made by school district personnel, and their lawyers.  But lately, I’ve decided that my clients have some doozies also…so I’ve created this page:   Truly Funny, Sad, Insightful, or Outrageous Quotes From Parents. My clients inspire me.  They really do.  I can not imagine how they manage […]

Weather or Naught

Published on May 23, 2011 by Jennifer Laviano

  Okay…I know it’s that time of year again.  IEP Season.  From now through the end of June, I will be in numerous IEP meetings per week, sometimes a few a day.  It’s enough to make a woman cranky. This isn’t the first year I’ve written about the nauseating experience of hearing the same ridiculous comments […]

Bullying of Kids with Disabilities: How One Young Man Took Back Control

Published on March 31, 2011 by Jennifer Laviano

For followers of my blog, you know that the bullying of kids with disabilities is a subject that I believe has long been overlooked.  I have spoken and written about this topic for years, well before bullying was a fixture on the evening news. Recently, I had the chance to hear a very inspirational story about a […]

Cherry Picking IEP Members

Published on March 15, 2011 by Jennifer Laviano

Despite nearly 15 years practicing special education law in Connecticut, there are still some old tricks which school districts employ which astound me.  Not that I am surprised that they continue to do it, but rather, that they think I won’t notice after all of this time. One of the oldest tactics is when special […]

IEEs: Do You Have to Explain Why You Disagree?

Published on February 14, 2011 by Jennifer Laviano

  As I have covered on several occasions in the past, a parent's right to an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) under the IDEA is, in my view, one of the strongest available under the special education laws.  This opportunity to get a “second opinion” on the school district's evaluations is, in many cases, the difference […]

DON'T THROW AWAY ANYTHING!!!

Published on December 22, 2010 by Jennifer Laviano

Sometimes it's difficult to know what to to be happy about as an attorney who represents children with disabilities.  As you can imagine, the facts that support a “really great special education case” are, by definition, at best unpleasant, and at worst horrific. It's an odd feeling, reviewing a child's special education records.  When I […]

35 Years of IDEA: A Dream Deferred?

Published on December 2, 2010 by Jennifer Laviano

A few days ago marked 35 years since the federal special education statute, now known as IDEA, was signed into law.  It is hard to believe that within my lifetime, and probably yours, it was legally permissible to exclude children with disabilities from our public schools entirely. Think about that for a minute. A little […]

Ask for the Email

Published on November 18, 2010 by Jennifer Laviano

Whenever parents retain my firm, I ask them to sign a form requesting all of their child's education records be sent to me as their special education lawyer.  It's a standard “FERPA” request…the easiest way to explain FERPA is that it is sort of like the educational version of HIPAA.  Bottom line is that I […]