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Your child isn't trying to be difficult.

Your child is having difficulties.

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I'm a lawyer, I'm a Mom, and I've been in the classroom. I come to the table with a different perspective having worked with children with varied disabilities. My strengths and passions led me to special education law. I love what I do.

                   -Attorney Abra Allexenberg

 

Attorney Abra C. Allexenberg helped a UMass Memorial patient obtain necessary and appropriate educational ser­vices based on his developmental needs.

Attorney Allexenberg’s dedication and commitment to this fami­ly has allowed them to not only feel comfortable voicing their concerns, but also empowered in the community. Thank you, Attorney Allexenberg for your persistence on this case!

(For the complete article, click here.)

Community Legal Aid, Worcester - Pro Bono Spotlight, September 2020

Attorney Abra Allexenberg assisted a UMass Memorial patient obtain special education services following aggressive opposition by the school district.

 

The UMass Memorial patient suffered from severe depression and social anxiety. With the pandemic pushing schools into remote learning, the patient's health only deteriorated. Attorney Allexenberg spent 3 hours on a zoom team meeting with the school administration until they agreed, and incorporated in a new individualized education plan, to transfer the patient to a collaborative school and give him the education services he needs.

 

A huge thank you to Attorney Allexenberg for sticking by this patient and providing invaluable advocacy that will enable this patient to succeed.

Community Legal Aid, Worcester - Pro Bono Spotlight, May 2021

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Are you feeling defeated because you feel your child needs services to make meaningful and effective progress and the District is refusing them?

Do you feel like you're just not being heard in your Team meetings?

Has your District denied your child special education eligibility?

Are you frustrated that your child is receiving suspensions and punitive consequences due to his disability of ADHD, ASD, ODD, OCD, or other? 

If your child has been diagnosed with a Specific Learning Disability such as Dyslexia, is she not receiving explicit, systematic reading instruction?

Do you feel like your child could use more appropriate accommodations or services in her 504 or IEP that fit her unique needs?

Do you feel like the school's assessments missed the mark for your child?

Is your child an LGBTQ+ person who has experienced mistreatment at school and is now feeling unsafe, leading to anxiety and depression? (click here)

Are you concerned about bullying, cyberbullying, or harassment?

Have you tried to navigate your way through the process on your own, but now feel you need legal advice?

Click here to contact Allexenberg Law for help.

Q & 

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Q:

Is your child struggling with reading and you suspect Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a complex Specific Learning Disability and your child may be entitled to services under Federal and State law. Ask for an Initial Evaluation for Special Education Eligibility. The District is required to assess all areas of suspected disability. Massachusetts JUST came out with 2021 Dyslexia Guidelines. Your child may also have learning disabilities in writing (Dysgraphia) and math (Dyscalculia). Be clear with the school district. There is a difference between a child who is a struggling reader and a child who is Dyslexic.

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Q:

Do you feel that your child has been labeled as a behavior problem, a disruption in class, and therefore, receives punitive consequences due to the school's Code of Conduct?

Your child may have a diagnosis of ASD,  ADHD, ODD, Dyslexia, and/or Anxiety (often, children have multiple diagnoses). He/she/they most likely need/needs accommodations for executive functioning skills to help with organization, transitions, work completion, problem solving, self-control, and working memory. Removing your child's road blocks will help your child focus on learning.

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Is your child 14 or over and on an IEP? If so, has the school begun Transition Planning with him/her/them? 

Under the law, the school is required to conduct a Transition Assessment and incorporate and update your child's goals into his/her/their annual IEP. Transition planning toward those goals can including job shadowing, career counseling, vocational preparation, and more. This is a process geared toward future employment, post-secondary education, and independent living. It is "individualized" and based on your child's goals and visions.

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Q:

How can the school help you with your child's behavior so he can be more confident and productive? 

Has your Team considered Self-Determination Goals in the IEP for Self-Advocacy, Self-Regulation, Social Skills, Self-Awareness, Emotional Regulation, etc. If your child is having difficulty with self-regulation, you may want to request a FBA (Functional Behavior Assessment) to determine what is triggering the "problem" behavior. Once the FBA is conducted, make sure a Behavioral Intervention Plan is created to help implement the recommendations and findings of the FBA.

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Q:

Does your child require Assistive Technology (AT) due to his or her disability, but you can't afford it or don't know how to use it yourself?

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has acknowledged that "Assistive technologies and accessible instructional materials are making a big difference in the lives of many students with disabilities in Massachusetts--expanding their learning opportunities, personalizing their instruction, and allowing them to participate in school activities alongside their peers." If not already conducted, you can request an AT assessment from the school. Then, with very few exceptions, the school will provide AT for your child. If you do not know how to use the AT, you can include language in your child's IEP that you be trained on how to use the AT and - if the teachers are new to the AT - that they be trained as well. This training is a "related service"  for your child.

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Q:

What's the difference between an IEP and a 504? 

This is a complicated answer. A basic explanation is that an IEP is an Individualized Education Program for your child that provides special education services, accommodations, and modifications based upon your child's disability/ies under the Federal IDEA. You are a member of the Team and are entitled to meaningful participation in the IEP process. A 504 is also plan that includes accommodations (and can include modifications and services) for your child, but it falls under the civil rights law of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Section 504 does not afford you the same entitlements to the "Plan" process as compared to an IEP under IDEA. Your child is entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education under both IDEA and Section 504.

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Contact Allexenberg Law for a free initial consultation.
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