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Back to School: Special Education Law

In addition to guest host Barbara King, we were also joined tonight by Albany special education and school law attorney Jennifer R. Sunderlin of Tully Rinckey PLLC. She was on-hand to help explain the rights of children with special needs in regards to their education.

If you think your child has a special need or disability and is not receiving the education they require, Jennifer told us that the first step is to request a referral to the Committee on Special Education. Parents and also school administrators can do this. The child is also entitled to an evaluation, paid for by the school, in order to determine what his or her exact needs are.

Some warning signs Jennifer mentioned for typical behavior of children with special needs were acting up in class, being disruptive, scoring poorly on tests or assignments and having difficulty following lessons.

All children with special needs should have what is called an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP. Jennifer described this as basically a plan detailing how the child will be educated for the school year. It gives concrete goals for the child and also how they will achieve these goals. We recommend seeking the counsel of an experienced special education attorney when setting up the IEP in order to guarantee all of your child’s needs are being met.

To speak with a Tully Rinckey family law attorney, call 518-218-7100 or visit our website at


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