Special Education Law Day

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Descriptions and Bios

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Advocating for your child is often a complex and sometimes counter-intuitive process. At Law Day, parents will learn the basic concepts of special education law, the importance of strategizing and how to use this knowledge to gain control of their child’s education.

The primary goal of Law Day: parents will become empowered IEP team members by gaining an understanding of special education law strategies, which then can be directly applied to their child’s specific needs and situation.

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8 a.m. IDEA Overview
Tim Adams, Esq.
8:30 a.m. Preparing for Advocacy
Lynne Arnold and Tim Adams, Esq.
9 a.m. Assessments and Evaluations
Tim Adams, Esq., and Lynne Arnold
10:15 a.m. Morning Break
10:30 a.m. Understanding School District and Independent Assessments
Mitchel Perlman, PhD
Noon Lunch
1-3 p.m. IEP Strategy
Lynne Arnold and Tim Adams, Esq.
3:15 p.m. Afternoon Break
3:30 p.m. Advanced Special Education Topics
Tim Adams, Esq. and Jennifer Keefe, Esq.
4 p.m. Q & A


Tim Adams, Esq. received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and his Juris Doctorate degree from Pepperdine University School of Law. He is admitted to practice as an attorney in California, in the United States District Courts—Central, Southern and Eastern Districts of California, as well as before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He has served as an adjunct professor and Associate Director of the Special Education Advocacy Clinic, Pepperdine University School of Law. He is actively involved in educating parents and professionals throughout the United States in presentations and seminars to disability rights organizations and parent support groups including Autism One, National Autism Association, National Epilepsy Foundation and Talk About Curing Autism (TACA). He has also trained Orange County Superior Court Judges regarding special education law in a presentation entitled “Ensuring the Best Interests of Children in Family Court Matters.” He has been interviewed and quoted in publications including the Daily Journal, the Orange County Register and the nationally published magazine Parenting. He is Adams & Associates’ Principal.

Lynne Arnold is the mother of a 14-year-old son recovering from autism and an 12-year-old daughter. Through conference presentations, writings and mentoring, Lynne helps parents to understand their child’s rights to appropriate interventions and education. She is the editor of Autism: Asserting Your Child’s Rights to a Special Education. Lynne has presented at many national and local autism conferences including Autism One, National Autism Association Conference, Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT), Autism Society of America, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) and other autism groups. Since 2004 she has been a olunteer for Talk About Curing Autism of Visalia, California. Lynne is also a member of the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law & Advocacy steering committee. Most recently, Lynne wrote “IEP Strategy: Scoring a Win for Your Child” for Autism File magazine.

Jennifer Keefe, Esq. is a trial lawyer for a major national law firm who has been nominated by her peers six years in a row as one of Texas’ Rising Stars in Texas Monthly Magazine (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011). She assists clients in a wide range of business litigation, including employment cases, financial institution disputes, and traditional oil and gas problems. Ms. Keefe has received several awards for her pro bono activities which have ranged from defending asylum cases before the U.S. Immigration courts for Human Rights Initiative of North Texas to accepting cases for the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy (EBCALA). She is a co-founder and board member of EBCALA. She received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and law degree from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

Mitchel D. Perlman, Ph.D., focuses on the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents who have specialized needs and/or who are involved in chaotic-intense-traumatic-critical situations. Known for the comprehensiveness of his investigatory assessments (psychodiagnostic, psychoeducational, neurocognitive), Dr. Perlman is often called on to be the impartial independent examiner in juvenile, family, civil and special education proceedings. He lends his expertise and keen insights to children/teens who have stepped away from the mainstream and/or who have gotten themselves in over their heads – emotionally, legally or in relation to others. He is involved in assessing some of the most fascinating individuals, and he has a knack for detecting and/or explaining things that have often gone unnoticed or that have been misunderstood. For example, in many children who had been diagnosed with autism and mental retardation, Dr. Perlman has found near-gifted to gifted intelligence and has been instrumental in guiding parents to the resources to unlock it.

Topic Descriptions

Session #1 – IDEA 2004 Overview

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is federal law that creates civil rights and substantive protections to children with disabilities. Do you understand your school district’s legal obligations to your child under federal law? Come learn the basic framework of IDEA 2004 as well as the implications of recent case law in the context of achieving a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for the special needs child.

Session #2 – Preparing for Advocacy

The critical fundamentals of creating a document trail, letter writing and understanding your child’s IEP will be addressed.

Session #3 – Assessments/Evaluations

What does a thorough assessment entail? How do you know if your child’s capabilities and needs have been adequately and accurately assessed? Assessing the child in all areas of suspected disability is the legal obligation of the district and usually the most important building block of the IEP. Without an accurate assessment, it can be nearly impossible to place the child in the correct program that capitalizes on his abilities.This session will explore common contradictions and misinterpretations in district assessments that result in inappropriate recommendations. The most important aspects of an independent educational evaluation as well as critical ages for assessment will be covered.

Session #3 – IEP Strategy

The first step to effectively controlling the IEP process is determining the appropriate strategy to gain leverage with the school district. The IEP process will be broken down into components to teach parents how to evaluate the best course of action in each situation. We will discuss how parents can more effectively respond to district objections to parental and independent expert recommendations. Techniques for forcing district personnel to fully explain their positions and district “policies” will be explored. Parents will learn how to apply these concepts to their child’s individual needs and their district.

Session #4 – Advanced Special Education Topics

Session #5 – Questions & Answers

What does all of this information mean to advocating for your individual child? Parents are encouraged to submit their questions to integrate the lessons learned with a new plan of action.