Do you have a child with behavioral issues? How do you get the right accommodations and appropriate placement under special education law?

What rights does your child with a mental illness or challenging behaviors have that ensure they are educated?

Guest Bonnie Shinagle

Bonnie Shinagle is a parent who navigated the process as an attorney specializing in
insurance coverage. She returned to school to get an advanced degree
focusing on laws impacting people with disabilities in general and children in particular. She trained
with a not­ for ­profit representing families before the N.Y. Department of Education and has published
articles in peer ­reviewed journals about discrete issues in special education law.

In this three part series with Bonnie Shinagle we will cover it all:

What laws help families with children with disabilities?

Part 1

Committee Meetings – The Process





How is classification determined?

What is the difference between a 504 plan and an IEP and why it’s important to know.

My child is very bright and does well academically but cannot learn due to behavioral/neurobiological issues so the school will not classify him?

Part 2


FAPE – Free Appropriate Public Education

LRE – Least Restrictive Environment

What if my child isn’t failing but is unable to learn or attend class due to behaviors?

What are different classifications for children and teens with mental illness or behavioral issues?

Do I have to use an attorney to get my child classified?

What rights attach to someone who has been classified?

What if my child has been classified and I don’t think that problems are being solved?

The District offered my child a seat in a program and I’ve heard things about it that I don’t like and feel it will worsen her behaviors, do I have to accept it?

How can parents enroll their child in a private school that best accommodates their child at district expense?

Is an IEP a legal contract?

Part 3

Emotions May Run High

What’s most overwhelming in the experience of being a parent of a child within the special education

What populations could be served better by the law?

Taking deep – very deep breaths

Who can attend a committee meeting?

Dealing with adversarial members at a district committee meeting on accommodations?

The lost kids falling through the cracks – dyslexia and twice exceptional gifted

What do parents with children with mental illness or behavioral issues need to know to protect their children?


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