Happy Holidays from The Law Offices of Regina Skyer & Associates, LLP

In this season of gratitude, as we reflect on all we have in our lives, we are humbled and truly grateful to be able to spend our days in the service of so many amazing children and their families. Every day, when you come into our offices, we are inspired and energized by your determination to fight for your children. We are all called to do our part to build a brighter tomorrow—but you, our parent clients, are the warriors.

Despite all that is ill in this world, we hope that this may be a moment of cultural awakening to neurodiversity, respect for those with physical differences, and greater recognition of the potential of those who learn, grow, and appear differently. We are buoyed by movies like Wonder, an explosion of television shows like Speechless and The Good Doctor, and too many good books to count—including the incredible Judith Newman’s bestselling 2017 memoir To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines (she just happens to be a client of the firm!). These cultural touchstones matter; they allow the rest of society to adopt a different point of view and move towards empathy and understanding.

On the legal front, this was likewise a watershed year. The Supreme Court’s Endrew F. decision in March unanimously affirmed what we have long fought for: that “every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives.” The impact of this historic ruling will be felt across the nation for generations. School districts are on notice that accepting the bare minimum in educational progress for children with IEPs is no longer acceptable in the United States of America.

Things are shifting, and you are an important part of this shift. Not just for what you do to secure your child the education they need and deserve, but also in all those less-noticed moments when you take the time to educate an ill-informed neighbor, make a fuss and demand equal access for your child in the community, call your legislators about policy issues affecting kids with special education needs, or call out discrimination when you see it. As you clear the path of clutter, you may not see the next parent and the next child who walks along the path, but they travel more easily because of your efforts.

Some of you have children who are able to tell you that they appreciate your fierceness and your love. Others may not hear these words spoken; but we promise you: they know. As a child, you know when someone has your back. You know when you are loved and when you are cared for.

But you still deserve to hear it. So we will say it: Thank you for all you do for your children.

From all of us at the Law Offices of Regina Skyer & Associates, have a wonderful holiday season!


Last chance to register for How to Survive an Impartial Hearing, December 1st, 8:30am-1:30pm. More details and registration via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-to-survive-an-impartial-hearing-tickets-38285069674

Turning 5 Workshop in Queens Tuesday, Nov. 7th by Special Ed Advocate Sarah Birnbaum

Following our two turning five talks this fall, several parents have asked if there will be any more opportunities to attend kindergarten transition workshops this year.

We will announce Skyer Law's spring workshop opportunities in the months to come, but, in the meantime, special education advocate Sarah Birnbaum is holding her final event of the year in Queens on Tuesday, cosponsored by Touro College and Queens Special Kids.

Sarah Birnbaum is at the top of her field. She is knowledgeable, passionate, and skilled at helping special needs parents understand this complicated process. It's well worth attending one of her events.

Date: Tuesday, November 7th, 6:00-8:00 pm
Location: Touro College Graduate School of Education
71-02 113th Street, Forest Hills (main floor)
RSVP: sarah@nyspecialneeds.com

 

Register Now for “How to Survive an Impartial Hearing" on December 1st

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We are less than a month away from Skyer Law's How to Survive an Impartial Hearing conference—and there is still time to register. If you are a special education parent, clinician, therapist, teacher, school administrator, or any other person who might be called to testify at a due process impartial hearing, then this free half-day conference is for you. 

At some point in a special education student’s schooling years a family may face an impartial hearing. For the parents, as well as the educators, clinicians, therapists, and the school administrators who care about that child’s educational progress (and may be called to testify), this is often stressful news—and that’s understandable. There is a lot is on the line.

On December 1st, a distinguished group of special education lawyers from the Law Offices of Regina Skyer & Associates will demystify the impartial hearing process by staging a mock hearing of a tuition reimbursement case. We will also take time to discuss some of the critical laws and procedures and answer as many audience questions as time allows.

Coffee/juice and light refreshments will be served. Registration is required as space is limited.

When: Friday, December 1st, 8:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Where: The Forchelli Center, Brooklyn Law School, 205 State Street, Brooklyn, NY
Questions? Email ekaiser@skyerlaw.com

No Meaningful Changes to Obligations of School Districts, Student Rights in Rescinding of 72 Guidance Documents by Trump Administration

Following Friday’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Education, first reported by Disability Scoop, that the Trump Administration is rescinding 72 federal guidance documents that they say are “outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective,” many parents were understandably alarmed. This move came without warning or engagement with stakeholders.

We want to assure you that the laws and regulations that the guidance documents relate to are still in full force and effect. There has been absolutely no change in law.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act was originally drafted in 1970 and enacted in 1975. It has been ‘reauthorized’ several times, most recently in 2004. Each time it is reauthorized, the U.S. Department of Education promulgates new regulations for implementation of the updated laws. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services then issues so-called ‘guidance documents’ to explain and clarify these changes in plain language.

A number of these guidance documents have been issued over the years, and, as the Department of Education says, many have been replaced by new versions or are no longer in full force and effect due to changes in the law over time. A full list of the rescinded guidance documents is available here.

Yesterday, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), of which we are a member, released a statement on the rescinding of these guidance documents which expressed their disappointment in the process, saying:

…COPAA is disappointed in the way OSERS has made this announcement because the process undertaken lacks complete transparency to the public. It is unfortunate that the list of rescissions does not include any explanation for changes made which leaves stakeholders in the dark.

Our office continues to stay abreast of changes to federal and state laws that may impact on your family. Stay subscribed to our email list to receive these important updates.

Make Your Voice Heard on Busing Issues! Public Meeting Tomorrow in Brooklyn

Problems with busing are one of the most frustrating things that a parent of a special education student may deal with. It’s critical that we use our collective voices whenever opportunities arise to raise issues, demand accountability, and make constructive suggestions for how to make change for the better.

The Citywide Education Council for District 75 (CECD75) is an advisory committee of the Department of Education that is made up of parents of District 75 students. This fall, CECD75’s Committee on Busing is holding a series of public meetings in all five boroughs to seek public comment about past and present problems with student busing with contract carriers. This hearing is open to the parents or guardians of any NYC student who utilizes student busing services, even if they attend a private school or a general education program.

CECD75 says that the purpose of these hearings is to compile the data and narratives received and make recommendations for changes in policy, rules, and regulations to the NYC Department of Education, the Office of Pupil Transportation, and New York State.

The next public meeting is tomorrow in Brooklyn.

Date: Wednesday, October 18

Time: 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Location: P368@H429K: School for Global Studies, 284 Baltic Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Written comments will also be accepted. Please address them to: Citywide Education Council for District 75, 45-18 Court Square, Suite 229, Long Island City, NY 11101. You can also email CECD75 at D75council.schols.nyc.gov and follow them on Facebook for updates on future public meetings.