Special Education Law Day

July 20, 2010


Special Education Law Day:
Intensive Training for Parents

March 1, 2008
8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Crystal Cove Auditorium
University of California, Irvine

Please note:

  • This is a parent/grandparents only training session. TACA reserves the right to decline the registration of any individual.

  • Registration is NON TRANSFERABLE. Each registrant must present a current photo ID as well as their child's IEP, IPP, IFSP or other documents to confirm he/she is the parent of a child with autism.

  • Sorry pre-registration is now closed. All existing registrations must be completed by Thursday, 2/28/08.
  • NO onsite registration. You must register in advance.

Registration Fee
$30 Individual
$45 Couple

UCI Parking is $7

Travel information and driving directions

Questions? See our Law Day FAQ

Timothy A. Adams, Esq., Special Education Attorney
Lynne Arnold, MA, TACA mom
Mitchel Perlman, PhD, Clinical Forensic Psychologist
Richard Peterson, Esq., Pepperdine University School of Law Professor

Advocating for your child is a complex and sometimes counter-intuitive process. In these sessions, 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 this track: parents will become empowered IEP team members by gaining an understanding of special ed law, which then can be directly applied to their child's specific needs and situation.

This is an intensive track designed to get parents up to speed quickly and will cover extensive information. To facilitate this process, each participant will receive a workbook with supporting information on key concepts, selected sections of IDEA, background facts on case studies as well as recommended reading and resources. Videos of enacted IEP meetings will be shown to illustrate key points.

Topics include:

  • Documentation, letter writing, gathering and evaluating documents
  • Selecting and working with independent experts
  • Timelines
  • 504 Plans
  • IEP Goals
  • Independent educational evaluations
  • Extended school year services (ESY)
  • NRC's Educating Children with Autism
  • Stay Put
  • Prior Written Notice
  • Least Restrictive Environment
  • When and how to use the services of a special education attorney

Please note: The schedule and topics are subject to change.

Session #1: IDEA 2004 Overview

IDEA was re-authorized in 2004 and many regulations came into effect in fall 2006. Do you understand how these recent changes affect your child? Come learn the basic framework of IDEA 2004 as well as the implications of recent case law in the context of achieving FAPE for the child affected by autism.

Session #2: Introduction to 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 #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.

Noon-1 p.m. LUNCH on your own in the student union food court

Session #4: The Big Ticket -- 1:1 Behavioral Services

Building the case for 1:1 intensive behavioral services with appropriately trained and supervised personnel is often the most difficult and important hurdle for parents. Parents especially face challenges when districts create generic autism programs that supposedly meet all the needs of any child with autism. This session will focus on overcoming eclectic programs, whole-class services and other potentially in-appropriate placements.

Session #5: Creating a Framework for “Educationally Necessary” Services

Many children miss out on needed services because districts insist they aren't "educationally necessary" or that any child who is doing well academically doesn't need any supporting services. This session will focus on connecting the dots between many aspects of occupational therapy, sensory integration, social skills training and other non-academic services to what the child needs to benefit from his/her education. Incorporating functional goals into the IEP will also be addressed.

Session #6: Advanced Strategy -- Wrapping It All Up (case studies)

Participants will have an opportunity to apply the lessons learned in the previous five sessions to case studies of three different children. In each situation, a different strategic plan is chosen which takes into consideration the individual needs of the child in the context of his/her district's autism program.

Session #7: Questions & Answers


Timothy A. 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 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 through presentations to disability rights organizations and parent support groups including speaker at Autism One (2005-2007), the National Autism Association (2005 and 2007) and the National Epilepsy Foundation Annual Conference (2001). He has been interviewed and quoted in publications including the Daily Journal (2001), the Orange County Register and the nationally published magazine Parenting (March 2003); He is the managing partner at Roberts & Adams.

Lynne Arnold is the chapter director for Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) of Visalia, CA and an Autism One parent mentor. Through community activism and advocacy as well as conference presentations and mentoring, she helps parents to understand their child's rights to appropriate interventions and education. Lynne is the editor of Autism: Asserting Your Child’s Rights to a Special Education by David A. Sherman. She has presented at Autism One (2005-2007), National Autism Association Conference (2005 and 2007), FEAT and for other autism groups.

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.

Richard M. Peterson is the Director of the Special Education Clinic and Assistant Professor of Law. B.S.L., Western State University College of Law, 1978, J.D., Western State University College of Law, 1979, M.D.R., Pepperdine University, 2001.

Following admission to the California State Bar in 1979 Professor Peterson spent 20 years practicing law as a trial attorney where he frequently served the community as a mediator, arbitrator, and legal representative of developmentally disabled persons victimized by criminal acts or other civil wrongdoings.

Professor Peterson has served as an educational consultant conducting workshops in anger management and conflict resolution curriculum for K-12 teachers, administrators, counselors, psychologists, and probation officers in public, private and alternative schools in New York, Delaware, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Missouri, and California. He was a presenter at the Los Angeles United School District Safe Schools Conference (2002), Mental Health in Schools Conference in Pasadena, California (2001) and provided monthly teacher development workshops on these subjects for the Compton Unified School District during the 2001-02 school year. Professor Peterson has more than thirty years experience working with adolescents and teenagers in a variety of capacities including service as a director of youth organizations for his church, athletic coach, adult leader for various troops of the Boy Scouts of America, and has taught numerous religious classes.

He is a passionate advocate for persons with disabilities having served nearly five years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Regional Center of Orange County, three years as president, and is a frequent speaker to parent organizations, educators, psychologists and related service providers on topics including special education law, dispute resolution, collaborative negotiation, and problem solving. He was the recipient of the E. Kurt Yeager Servant Leadership Award for outstanding service to people with developmental disabilities at the RCOC Spotlight Awards in 2002.

Professor Peterson now focuses his energies on the Special Education Advocacy Clinic where he directs law students providing advocacy and training to parents of children with developmental disabilities who are regional center consumers. He teaches Special Education Law and Disability Law.