Patrick Hoover met with over 30 concerned parents to discuss their children’s legal rights under the IDEA. The Eastern Panhandle Autism Support group in Martinsburg, West Virginia, formed to help parents and caregivers’ frustrations with their school system’s inability to follow the IDEA and provide appropriate education to their children; they work to channel the group’s frustration into mediation, legal and political solutions that can help their children gain an appropriate public education in West Virginia.
At The ABC’s of Special Education Law Seminar, Pat shared a typical school rights case involving a child with autism who regressed due to a “cookie-cutter” IEP and poor implementation. Using that model case as an example, Pat shared strategies and techniques that parents and advocates can use before, during and after IEP meetings, manifestation hearings, and emergency IEP meetings. Pat also discussed the relevant law for IDEA, and gave handouts sharing the legal bases for due process to these parents.
The seminar was designed to tap into the collective and extensive knowledge of the group’s members. After Pat presented a scenario and the relevant law, participants broke out into groups. Each group was tasked with reading a special education question and providing an answer based upon their knowledge and the knowledge gained from the seminar. Then each group had the opportunity to ask Pat their own question involving special education issues. More often than not, the group members created excellent strategies and answers to the questions presented, proving the adage that strength – and knowledge- lies in numbers.
Two hours is never enough to present all of the material a parent or advocate needs to know in special education law. Fortunately, the group did videotape the event for the many members who were unable to attend. When this video is made available, we will post it on our site.
If you are interested in learning more about the Eastern Panhandle Autism Support Group, they can be found at http://www.freewebs.com/epwvautism/index.htm