Los Angeles Unified School District Special Education Attorneys

Is LAUSD Shortchanging Your Child with Special Needs?

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law that supports special education and related services for children with disabilities. The law was originally called the Education for All Handicapped Children Act when it passed in 1975. It has been modified by subsequent legislation, and the name was changed to IDEA in 1990.

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is the second-largest school district in the nation. It serves over 66,000 students with disabilities. Parents of children with disabilities face serious challenges when dealing with the district’s large and impersonal bureaucracy.

The day-to-day issues encountered by parents of children with disabilities were compounded by COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights found that the LAUSD failed to provide adequate services for students with special needs, and the district did not enact a plan “to remedy the instances in which students with disabilities were not provided FAPE during remote learning.”

At Woodsmall Law Group, we provide legal services to make sure your child with a disability is receiving FAPE, assist with placement disputes, and help ensure your child’s school is following the IEP. We also provide legal representation for mediation and due process hearings. If you have questions or concerns about these issues or any other problems related to your child’s education, call (626) 440-0028 to schedule a FREE initial consultation with Woodsmall Law Group today.

What Is FAPE?

Federal law requires school districts in California to provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for all students with special needs. Students with one or more of the following disabilities have the right to receive special education and related services:

  • Hearing impairment or deafness
  • Autism
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • ADHD
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Visual impairment or blindness
  • Orthopedic impairments
  • Serious emotional disturbance
  • Specific learning disabilities
  • Speech or language impairments
  • Other health impairments
  • People with impairments that require instruction and services beyond the modification of a regular school program.

How Your Los Angeles Special Education Lawyer Can Help

Special education programs are mandated by federal law, but state law plays a large role in how these programs are administered. Every student with special needs must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is a legal document that provides a roadmap for the special education instruction, support, and services your child will receive.

Woodsmall Law Group will assist you if your child with special needs is not receiving the proper services from an LAUSD school or institution. We offer legal assistance for all types of special education issues, including:

  • 504 plans: A child with physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities who does not qualify for an IEP may qualify for a 504 plan. This plan is developed to ensure that a child with a disability defined under the law who is attending an elementary or secondary institution is receiving the right accommodations to fully access the learning environment. Section 504 defines a disability as a condition that impairs one or more basic life activities.
  • Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP): If you have an infant or toddler with special needs who has not reached school age, you are entitled to an IFSP. Services available under an IFSP include medical and nursing services, hearing and vision services, occupational and physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and special education services.
  • Adult programs and transitions: As your child with special needs completes high school and prepares for the next stage of their life, it’s time to develop an Individual Transition Plan (ITP). In California, transition planning must begin before the student turns 16. The Regional Center (RC) may provide assistance, which should include details about supporting independent living, vocational training, social life, community connections, and postsecondary education.
  • In-Home Support Services (IHSS) appeals: Your child with a disability may be eligible to receive in-home services that are delivered at the county level. You will receive a Notice of Action if the county decides to end or alter the IHSS services your child is receiving. You have the right to appeal this notice, but there are strict deadlines that apply, so you will want to speak with a special education attorney right away.
  • Due process: If you have concerns about your child’s IEP or the services that your child with special needs is receiving, you have the right to request mediation or a due process hearing. Your special education attorney can advise of your rights, review your options, and provide legal representation.

Are You and Your Child with Special Needs Getting the Help You Need?

Woodsmall Law Group is committed to serving children and adults with special needs and their parents in Los Angeles County, focusing on the San Gabriel Valley. We have been helping families make the most out of their educational opportunities for over 17 years.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s placement or the services they are receiving, please call us at (626) 440-0028 to schedule a free initial consultation. We speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Polish, and Spanish.