Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch, PLLC
Arizona Special Education Lawyers
Arizona IDEA and IEP
For many parents who have a child with special needs, navigating the maze of federal and state laws and regulations, and even reading your Procedural Safeguards Notice (yes, that booklet that you should have received when you first requested an evaluation, or when the school referred your child for an evaluation), can be overwhelming. Having a child with special needs can be overwhelming in and of itself. As a parent who has been in your shoes, and as a former school teacher and administrator, we can assist you - as much or as little as you want or need. We provide the parent support you need by explaining your legal rights and providing you with legal advice, including what you are entitled to before the IEP meeting. We will prepare you for the IEP meeting and guide you to advocate for your child. We can assist and prepare your child to advocate for himself or herself to the extent that they can; we can explain your child's legal right to him or her.
At Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch, you will find an Arizona law firm not only with legal experience, but with personal and practical experience in education law issues. From our own personal experiences as a parent of a teenager with special needs and as a former special education teacher, we understand the IEP process; we've gone through it ourselves, as a parent, as a teacher, as the school district adminstrator, and as the school district representative.
We will hold your hands. We proudly help parents and children protect their legal rights. As a parent, we understand your concerns. As a former teacher and school superviser, we know how the schools function and what goes on behind the scenes. Whether you want help with deciding on the type of evaluations and assessments your child should have, or you want help with goals, or an entirely new placement, we can provide you with the tools you need as your child's parent advocate. You are the parent advocate for your child, and we can arm you with the legal knowledge you need. Schools have attorneys advising them; you should too. No one knows your child better than you; but you need to be as well versed in the law as are the school staff.
Attorney Lori Kirsch-Goodwin is a trial lawyer who learned firsthand how to navigate the special education system as an advocate for her own son who has Asperger's syndrome. Attorney Hope Kirsch has her Bachelors degree (B.S.) and Masters degree (M.Ed.) in Special Education, and nearly 20 years of experience as a special education teacher and school administrator.
Making Sense of the IDEA and Understanding the Purpose of an IEP
When teachers and lawyers talk about the IDEA, they are referring to the federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This law requires public schools to provide a free and appopriate public education (FAPE) to all students with disabilities who are eligible for special education (SPED) and related services.
As simple as that requirement may seem, the complexities come in the details. FAPE is the acronym for Free Appropriate Public Education. Many people misunderstand this term, especially what the law considers appropriate. It is important to remember that FAPE means that students should receive a meaningful educational benefit. It does not mean that students are entitled to the best education or an education that maximizes their potential.
In order to help schools and teachers provide an appropriate education or FAPE to disabled students, the law requires the use of an Individual Education Plan / Program, referred to an an IEP. This plan must be developed by the school AND the parents, and it must explain the specially designed instruction for an individual child and include:
How is child with a disability defined by the IDEA
The IDEA says that a "child with a disability" must have one of the listed types of impairments in Arizona, which include:
Students with disabilities must be at least three years old and are entitled to receive special education and related services until they graduate from high school with a regular diploma, or when they reach their 22nd birthday, whichever happens first.
Compassionate and Knowledgeable Help for Special Education Students and their Parents Throughout Arizona
Our firm can help families, whether you are new to the IEP process, are experiencing difficulty working with the school disrict, or just want support, We can accompany you to the IEP meeting, review the IEP with you, explain the process, prepare you for the IEP; we provide whatever advocacy and legal advice and guidance you want or need. We have helped parents and their children in:
Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch, PLLC
8900 E. Pinnacle Peak Rd., Suite 250
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Phone: 480-585-0600 Fax: 480-585-0622
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Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch, P.L.L.C., serves students and their families in matters regarding education law / school law and special education law and special ed advocacy in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the surrounding cities of Phoenix, Glendale, Chandler, Surprise, Carefree, Cave Creek, Anthem, Flagstaff, Sedona, Prescott, Tucson, Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Peoria, and throughout Arizona.
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