Finkelstein

special education attorney

 

What We Do

At the Law Offices of Kevin Michele Finkelstein, we provide excellent, student-centered legal representation and advocacy focused on the unique needs of special education students. Your child’s education comes first! Your child is entitled to a “free and appropriate education” or FAPE, whereby the school district addresses all of your child’s unique needs. A school district must provide your child with an appropriate education regardless of budget cuts, what is convenient, or what is available. Too often the school district offers a “one size fits all” program that fits within their needs, but not within the unique needs of your child. Ensuring that your child’s education comes first means having the right team on your side. 

 

 

We are committed to providing each client thorough, thoughtful, and zealous representation throughout each step of your special education case. We specialize in detailed review and analysis of each case, prompt and frequent communication, and educating parents so they are involved and understand the process every step of the way. After our cases conclude at the IEP meeting, by settlement or due process hearing, we remain available to address parents’ questions and concerns to make sure our results are meaningful and lasting.

 

How It Works

After an IEP meeting, have you ever left your school wondering:

  • What just happened? What did I just sign?

  • Is my child getting the best possible services?

  • Am I asking the right questions? Does this plan really meet my child’s needs?

 

We want you to never feel this way again! With our assistance you can fully understand the IEP process and become the best advocate for your child. We know that no one cares about your child’s future the way you do. So let’s get started down this road, TOGETHER.

What is Special Education?

Special education is a term used by the law (IDEA) to describe specially designed instruction that meets the unique needs of a child who has a disability. These services are provided by the public school system and free of charge. Services can include instruction in the classroom, at home, in hospitals, and institutions. Learning disabilities cover a wide spectrum of disorders ranging from mild to severe. They can include mental, physical, behavioral, and emotional disabilities. 

How do I get started?

Categories of special education as defined by the individuals with disabilities education act (IDEA)

In order to qualify for special education, The IEP team must determine that a child has one of the following:

 

  • Autism

  • Blindness

  • Deafness

  • Emotional Disturbance

  • Hearing Impairment

  • Intellectual Disability 

  • Multiple Disabilities

  • Orthopedic Impairment

  • Other Health Impaired

  • Specific Learning Disability

  • Speech or Language Impairment

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Visual Impairment

If your child is struggling in school, having social or behavioral problems, or if you suspect they have one of the 13 categories of special education you can request an evaluation. Some school districts request that you meet with your school’s student study team (SST) before conducting an evaluation. If your child does not qualify for services under IDEA, they may qualify for modifications under Section 504 of the American Disabilities Act of 1973. At the Law Offices of Kevin Michele Finkelstein we help families begin this process and stay with them until the end.

Individualized Education Programs for Your Child

We will assist you in obtaining appropriate evaluations for you child, creating an Individualized Education Program (IEP), monitoring its implementation and ensuring that your child is making meaningful academic progress while the IEP is in force.  The IEP should be tailored to address your child’s specific disability or need and the school is obligated to implement the IEP.  There are several key components that must be evaluated and drafted in order to create an effective IEP for your child:

  • Educational Status:  The child’s current academic performance levels

  • Annual Goals:  The goals should be clearly written and student attainment should be measurable by acceptable assessments

  • Instructional Situation and Setting:  The specific placement and instructional tools tailored to the child’s special needs

  • Related Services:  Services such as occupational therapy, speech therapy or behavioral therapy to name just a few.

  • Transition Service:  For children over 16, evaluation of placement or vocation needs

  • Due Process Hearings:  Third party dispute resolution, to address any inadequacies in the IEP or how it is implemented

 

We will be engaged with every step in the process of creating and monitoring the IEP for your child, so that you don’t have to navigate the complex legal requirements on your own.  One requirement of the IEP is that it must be offered in the least restrictive environment possible, or at least close to that of non-disabled students.  This is one area to be evaluated closely to make sure that your child is integrated with students who do not have disabilities to the maximum extent possible.

If your child is regressing academically or not making meaningful academic progress, the firm is prepared to represent you in a due process hearing to force his/her school to provide compensatory education, enroll him in another school, modify his IEP or seek other remedies to ensure that he receives an appropriate education. Please contact us for a free consultation.

 

Our Services Include:

Our law firm solely focuses its practice on the representation of children and their families regarding special education law.  Every case is approached individually to meet the child’s very specific and unique needs. We represent the parents and child throughout the child’s eligibility for special education resources and services.  In California, this period starts when the child turns 3 years of age and ends at the age of 22 years old.

  • Educational Document and Case Reviews

  • Letters to School Districts

  • Referrals for evaluations and services

  • Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE)

  • Requesting an assessment or an IEP meeting

  • Preparation for an IEP eligibility meeting or an annual review

  • Advocacy at IEP meeting

  • Suspensions and expulsions

  • Manifestation Determination Reviews (MDR)

  • Informal Dispute Resolution (IDR)

  • Requesting, preparing for and attending Mediations

  • Due Process Hearing

  • Disability Bullying/Harassment

  • Section 504 

  • Unilateral Placement and Reimbursement

  • Obtaining Early Intervention/Regional Center services