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Episode #097: Special Education Law with Catherine Michael

Parents, have you ever been in a situation where you’re fighting with your child’s school to get your child the services they deserve and are entitled to? Catherine Michael has spent more than 20 years working with families on designing success for special needs children. She is a managing partner at the law firm Connell Michael Kerr as well as the founder of Coffee with Catherine, which offers classes and resources for families of children with special needs.

A Free Appropriate Education
Every child in America is entitled to a free appropriate education. This means the support, services, accommodations, and environment that they have been evaluated for and determined to need for their educational success. The Individual Disabilities Education Act, outlines federally what special needs students are required to receive within schools. Many states have even codified and extended these laws into their own state statutes to give more rights to these families.

Educational Due Process
Due Process does not create damage, the goal for this action is to resolve and settle on the necessary support and services for a child as quickly as possible. As soon as the Educational Due Process is filed, a school has 15 days to come to a resolution with the family. If a resolution is not met then an Administrative Hearing will take place. This hearing is an informal relaxed hearing often taking place in a school, where the burden of proof lies on the parents. Catherine discusses the obstacles to the qualifications of the Hearing Officers for these settings and how they can negatively affect the outcome.

If you’re a professional or parent seeking to learn more about Special Education Law check out the resources at Coffee with Catherine. Additionally, if you’re located in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Alaska and need legal assistance pertaining to special education, reach out via the Connell Michael Kerr, LLP website.

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Today’s Guest:

Catherine Michael, JD, has spent more than twenty years working with thousands of
families, behavior therapists, psychologists, parents, and teachers on designing success for children with special needs. She is the managing partner of the law firm of Connell Michael Kerr, LLP and the founder of Coffee with Catherine, LLC which offers classes and resources for parents of children with special needs.

Catherine is a well-known speaker and has been featured hundreds of times in national
and local media for educational and parenting advice, including on the Montel Williams
Show, Sterling on Sundays, Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Tilt Parenting podcast, ABC, CBS, and NBC news and many other national media venues, for her cases and advocacy of families and children.

Over the past two decades, in addition to her administrative, state and federal cases on
behalf of students, she has attended and assisted in the development of IEPs, Section
504 plans, Functional Behavioral Assessments, Behavior Intervention Plans, and assisted parents in understanding what services are available to their children. She has trained parent advocates, teachers, parents and attorneys as they enter the area of special education as well as serving as an Adjunct Professor for Education Law for more than a decade.

What’s Inside:

  • Who does Special Education Law serve?
  • What is Educational Due Process?
  • What does it mean to receive a free appropriate education?
  • How do parents and schools come to a resolution?
  • What is an Administrative Hearing?
  • What are the qualifications of a Hearing Officer?

Mentioned In This Episode

Coffee with Catherine
Connell Michael Kerr, LLP

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