For Parents Of Children With Special Needs
About Our Special Education Practice Area
We provide assistance to families all the way from the first point of contact with the special education system – the referral for evaluation for an IEP or a 504 plan all the way through to helping families insure their child has an appropriate transition plan and is getting all the services they are entitled to before graduating or aging out. This can include helping complete school paperwork, attending domain, eligibility or IEP meetings, or participating in Manifestation Determination meetings when suspension or expulsion is being contemplated. Our informed and strategic assistance allows us to successfully resolve the vast majority of cases at the IEP or 504 meeting level. Where the problem cannot be resolved at that level, we also assist families in mediation meetings and due process hearings, where we have also achieved a very high rate of success. However, our goal is always to avoid a legal proceeding if possible. Along with our advocacy efforts, we assist families in deciding whether a 504 plan or an IEP is preferable and realistic and in making them as effective as possible.
In addition to our legal advocacy, we are able to identify resources that the parents need to assist their child, including private therapists and evaluators and even private schools. Our experienced and empathetic staff try to work with families in every way we can to relieve the stress they are experiencing and help them find practical and effective solutions to their child’s difficulties. Along with our special education efforts, we devote significant time to pro bono efforts to assist not for profit organizations in their local, state and national advocacy, as well as taking on select pro bono cases to assist individual families. Most notably, in the last several years, Matt Cohen has been one of the lead attorney representatives for the Special Education Advocacy Coalition of Chicago (SPEACC), which successfully complained to the Illinois State Board of Education that the Chicago Public Schools were committing systemic violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. On top of these efforts, in response to COVID school shutdowns, the firm has launched weekly webinar and “Ask the Lawyer” programs to assist parents in securing and protecting appropriate education for their children.