In this Issue ~
Special Education:
Restraint, Seclusion and Isolated Time Outs 
Reading Disputes
Family Law:
Special Needs Considerations in Divorce
Restraint, Seclusion and Isolated Time Outs

In the past month, I have been involved in representing parents in several cases where a student was subjected to abuse at the hands of a staff member at a public therapeutic day school. The abuse was related to the use of restraints and time outs. Regrettably, the incidents of restraint, seclusion and the use of isolated time outs were the norm at the school. There were multiple videos showing staff mistreating young children and forcing them into locked rooms for significant lengths of time.
Schools often state that they only use restraints in limited circumstances, for example, when a student is a danger to themselves or others. That is the rhetoric told to parents when they visited the school as a potential placement for their child. Parents reported that they specifically denied consent to restrain their child or for the school to place them in an isolated time out room. This request was denied over the course of two school years. When the parents asked to see the rooms where the restraints took place, the school and the special education district refused to allow them to view the spaces. Yes, there were several options for restraint and seclusion. Students were often physically dragged down the hallways where they were brought to what the school euphemistically referred to as "the office. "
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Issues in Special Education:
Reading Disputes

The school year is nearly over. I finally have time to catch my breath and look back at what where the main legal issues in the special education area for the 2018-2019 school year that kept me occupied.

Reading disputes were an ongoing concern this year. The failure to teach students to read is not confined to poorly funded or economically disadvantaged schools. Regrettably, there were a number of students I represented and still do, who attend "good school districts". I sat in several IEP meetings this year where the school personnel seemed unable to construct a plan to remediate a student's reading deficits. Instead they persisted on offering a one-size fits all program with no research base. These were students who were at least two years below grade level and in some instances 4-5 years below grade level. Parents were panicked and the school scrambled around for what to do without real concern about the appropriateness of that intervention for a particular child.

Special Needs Considerations in Divorce

There are no "typical" fact patterns when it comes to divorce when a child or children have special needs. From the beginning of the case, our office makes it a priority to understand the unique needs of these families. This often means asking certain essential questions that will guide our legal advice and strategy.

Questions that help in developing a plan are as follows :
What are the ages of the child or children?
Do one or more of them have a diagnosis of a disability?
What is the disability?
How does it impact your family? The child?
Who is the primary caregiver?
Has the child been evaluated?
Does the child have an IEP (Individual Education Plan)?
What therapies outside of school are being provided?

We offer free consultations in matters of divorce and post decree issues. Please contact our office at 312-640-0500 if you would like to schedule an appointment.

Coming Soon!

The Children's Lawyer 
A Podcast by Micki Moran

Special Education and child law attorney, Micki Moran, discusses a wide range of topics related to special education, juvenile and mental health law in an effort to provide information and resources to families. With podcasts and guest interviews on a variety of topics ranging from IEP development, transition, behavior plans and advocacy tips form parents, you will get answers and solutions to disability related legal questions concerning children and young adults.

Micki Moran
The Child & Family Law Center of the North Shore
A Division of Grund & Leavitt, P.C.
600 Central Avenue, Suite 248
Highland Park, IL 60035
Phone 312-640-0500
Fax 847-681-1295