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Special Education Lawyer in New Jersey

Special Education

At Susan Clark Law Group LLC, we know that each child has a right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) —and we fight for that right. Our special education lawyers in NJ not only have more than 100 years of litigation experience, but we are also parents who have been through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process ourselves.

Our goal as special education attorneys in New Jersey is to empower families by identifying and working to obtain the educational support and tools they need for their children with special needs to succeed to their full potential.

Whenever you need legal representation and advice tailored to your family’s particular needs, you can count on Susan Clark Law Group LLC to advocate for you.

We are proud to serve families throughout Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Ocean County with our special education attorneys, using a diplomatic approach toward school districts that might not understand your child’s unique challenges.

What Are Special Needs?

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), federal and New Jersey law states that children with disabilities and their families have specific educational rights and procedural protections, or special needs.

The law provides for specialized instruction in the least restrictive environment possible that meets these students’ challenges – whether physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, behavioral or emotional disabilities, or sensory impairment.

The law also gives parents a voice and the right to make decisions regarding their children’s education.

Since the IDEA was originally enacted in 1975, a significant number of children with disabilities have been recorded as enrolled in public schools. About 13 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade who are enrolled in public schools have a disability, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The majority of these children (35 percent) have a specific learning disability, followed by a speech or language impairment (21 percent), other health impairment (13 percent), and autism (8 percent).

The law’s protections include programs and support for disabilities and conditions such as:

  • Allergies
  • Asperger’s syndrome and autism spectrum disorders
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Auditory processing disorder
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Developmental delays
  • Diabetes
  • Down syndrome
  • Dyslexia
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Epilepsy
  • Hearing impairment and deafness
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Oppositional defiance disorder
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Processing disorders
  • Sensory integration dysfunction
  • Speech and language impairment
  • Spina bifida
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment and blindness

How We Help Families

The Susan Clark Law Group LLC, wants your child and your family to have the necessary resources and reassurance to succeed. Our New Jersey special education attorneys are dedicated to compassionate, high-quality representation that’s sensitive to all your efforts on your child’s behalf because we understand how taxing such advocacy can be.

Here are some ways in which we can assist you and your family:

  • Out-of-District Placement – Arranging for your child to attend school in another district requires a good deal of planning, but might be the best option if your child’s educational needs are not being met adequately in the district where you live. We can help you evaluate other options and guide you through this process.
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) – An IEP gives your child the right each school year to special accommodations and services so he or she can reach his or her full classroom potential. The IEP evaluation process can be quite complex. You can feel discouraged if you do not agree with the program’s determination of eligibility, services and accommodations, or its goals and objectives for your child. We can sort through the IEP team’s findings with you and advocate on your child’s behalf.
  • 504 Plans – Similar to the IEP process, a 504 Plan guarantees a free and equal education to students with disabilities but includes some accommodations that may not fall under an IEP, such as physical modifications to a desk or a classroom, technology aids, modified textbooks, extra time to take tests, and physical or behavioral therapy. We can bring our years of knowledge to the table to help tailor this plan to meet your child’s needs.
  • Mediation – State and federal law gives you the right to disagree with a school district’s decisions regarding your child’s education or well-being, especially if your child is denied particular services or the district refuses to provide them. We can represent you at a state mediation session to resolve the conflict to your satisfaction before advancing to a due process hearing.
  • Due Process Hearings – Another option for parents who disagree with a school district’s position on their child’s special education classification, services, or placement is a due process hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). We can present evidence and legal arguments to support your side and ensure that your voice and your child’s needs are heard.
  • School Suspensions – Students with disabilities have the right to a fair hearing under state and federal law when facing a suspension. A suspension is a short-term disciplinary action and considered less serious than an expulsion, but it can be an emotional ordeal for a child with a disability. What’s more, if your child’s disability was a cause or a factor in the behavior that triggered such discipline, it may not be warranted. We can represent your child’s side of events as well as make sure that he or she is receives the emotional, behavioral or other support needed.
  • School Expulsion – As with school suspensions, state and federal law guarantees students with disabilities who are facing expulsion the right to a fair hearing. Because an expulsion is the most serious disciplinary action a school district can take, it can adversely affect your child’s life. We’ll be in your corner to help your child understand what’s happening, speak for your child’s needs, and appeal any disciplinary decisions that you think the evidence does not support.
  • Guardianship – For children older than 18 who have a mental illness, developmental disability, or other diminished capacities, guardianship is essential to allow parents to continue to make important decisions regarding their health care and schooling. A guardianship also enables a parent or other trusted representative to have access to an adult child’s information from hospitals, banks, and government agencies. We can answer any questions you have about guardianship and shepherd you or someone your family trusts through the guardianship application process.
  • Special Needs Trusts – A Special Needs Trust (SNT) protects your child financially over the years through strategic planning. An SNT is designed so that its assets are used solely for the benefit of an individual with a disability and are excluded from Medicaid rules. These trusts can be valuable in paying for medical care, education and living expenses. We can help you establish a SNT for your child to be funded until your child reaches age 65.

When Do You Need a Special Education Attorney?

It’s sometimes said that children with special needs get special parents — but there are times when this feels overwhelming, particularly if you’re dealing with a school district and its interpretation of your child’s abilities and accommodations.

No one knows your child or your family better than you do, and what’s considered “adequate” under the law might not be what’s in your child’s best interests. That’s where the special education attorneys in New Jersey at Susan Clark Law Group LLC come in.

We have fought for our own children’s educational rights, so we sympathize with parents and families doing the same. We’re here to provide the support system you need with the information, resources, and legal advice necessary to fight for your family when developing an IEP or a 504 Plan, disputing decisions through mediation or a due process hearing, handling discipline such as school suspensions and expulsions, or designating a guardianship or special needs trust.

Talk to a Knowledgeable Special Education Lawyer in New Jersey Now

The Susan Clark Law Group LLC, special education law firm in NJ, want you to know that you’re not alone. We fight tirelessly for families of students with special needs who exercise their legal rights to advocate for their children so that every child gets the education, accommodations, and services they’re entitled to receive.

Whether you want support services for your child in a traditional public school classroom, placement in a residential school that provides for full-time education and monitoring, or have questions about decisions that a school district has made about your child, we’re here to guide you about special education law.

Let us answer your questions so you can empower yourself and your child and lay the foundation for your child’s successful future. Please call us or contact us online today.


Special Education FAQs

Special Education FAQs

What is IDEA?

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), federal and New Jersey law states that children with disabilities and their families have specific educational rights and procedural protections, or special needs.

It provides for specialized instruction in the least restrictive and also gives parents a voice and the right to make decisions regarding their children’s education.

What is the IEP?

Individualized Education Program (IEP), is a document designed individually for each public school student who receives special education and related services. 

It creates an opportunity for parents, teachers, administrators, and other personnel, as well as students, when appropriate, to work together.

My kid with special needs got suspended from school, what should I do?

If your child runs into serious trouble at school, he or she might be suspended, which could impact the services outlined in your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Depending on the offense, you and your family might need a school suspension lawyer who can guide you through this process and appeal for a compassionate solution.

How do I know which is the best school for a kid with special needs?

Sometimes an out-of-district placement means a specialized school or program outside of your local school district  that will provide adequate conditions for your child’s needs.

By law, school districts are required to provide “appropriate education,” not the “best education.” Districts may object to paying for your child to attend an outside school.

The school my kid goes to wants to change the services we get through IEP but I disagree, what should I do?

Parents always have “procedural rights”—the right to disagree with a school district’s decisions regarding their child’s education or well-being. To do so, you must go through certain channels which can include mediation , due process hearings, or independent evaluations of your child. Exercise your right to due process.

Why do some students get 504 plans and others get IEP?

Question: Why do so many students who are referred to child study teams get a 504 Plan rather than a research-based Individual Educational Plans?

Answer: When the school completes its evaluation of your child, it decides whether or not he or she qualifies under the provisions of IDEA. If they determine that the child does not qualify, they will meet with you to determine if he or she qualifies for a 504 Plan. Usually, this will provide your child with accommodations to help with the disorder. The 504 Plan is sometimes considered as a consolation prize for those not sufficiently disabled to qualify under IDEA. If you disagree, you should request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense. (The school can deny this request by filing a due process hearing to demonstrate that its evaluation was appropriate.) This should be done by a professional who is not employed by the school district. The person selected for the IEE could be very important. The evaluation by a medical profession is often accepted by the district.



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