Fall Back Into School by: Tracey Spencer Walsh, Esq

The summer is slipping away as we fall back into the groove of another school year. Many of your students are returning to their schools while some of your students are beginning in a new school, and are going through a transition to what we hope will be a great fit for them where they will be and feel successful. Welcome back to school.

As Predicted:
Trend Continues Toward Settlement in NYC DOE

While I am no a seer, my prediction last spring that NYC DOE would continue in its trend to settle more cases rather than litigate them, is proving itself true. While we cannot discern all the reasons why some cases have been chosen for settlement and others have not, most of our cases have been referred for settlement in accordance with the policy announced by Mayor de Blasio’s team last August. As I had stated, there was no reason to believe that there would be a sudden about face in de Blasio’s administration to return to the Bloomberg war on special education parents, where cases were being litigated to death. I also anticipate that due to the sheer volume of cases recommended for settlement, that the process will continue to be a slow one. We of course will push, but do remember, this is NYC DOE and almost nothing moves quickly.

Plan Ahead Now For 2016-2017!

1. Get an updated Neuropsychological Examination
If your child has not had a neuropsychological exam in more than 2 years, I recommend that you begin that process in the next couple of months. The neuropsychologist that you choose should not only be a highly qualified and credentialed clinician, but should also be willing to observe your child at school, participate in the IEP meeting (even if that is only by telephone), and be willing to testify in a hearing if necessary. The clinician you choose must meet that criteria in order to help you secure funding for private school and services. Please vet your clinicians according to this advice, and should you need any recommendations, please contact me and I would be happy to share my contacts with you. tracey@SpencerWalshLaw.com.

2. Begin to Explore Private Schools and Visit Open Houses
If you are considering sending your child to a private school for the 2016-2017 school year (next year), NOW is the time to begin to look at schools, visit open houses, and apply by late fall. Many quality programs fill up fast and far in advance. If you even have an inkling that you may want to consider a private school education for your child, now is the time to investigate and start the process (and get those neuropsych evaluations done!) Should you need any assistance in selecting the appropriate private school for your child, please contact me and I can guide you. tracey@SpencerWalshLaw.com.

3. Is Your Child Approaching 18 and Will Need A Guardian?
Your child will be considered under the eyes of the law to be an independent and self-sufficient adult regardless of his or her disability and you will not have the same rights to decision making unless you secure Guardianship from the Surrogates Court. If this is your situation, please contact me so that I can help you in this process. tracey@SpencerWalshLaw.com.