Hawaii Parents Special Education Advisory Council (HIP SEAC)

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The IDEA grants important rights that include (1) determining whether your child is a "child with a disability" needing special education and related services to benefit from their education, (2) preparing an annual Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that includes a description of "Present Levels of Educational Performance" ("PLEPs"), Goals and Objectives with benchmarks and a list of the type and amount of special education and related services tailored to the unique needs of each child, and (3) Procedural Safeguards to resolve disputes with the DOE.

The following section ("General Advice") summarizes some of the points to consider in making best use of the IEP process once your child has been found eligible for IDEA services. Following that are sections on "Finding Professional Help" and "Other Resources."

General Advice

  1. Preparing for IEP Meetings
    1. Identify your child's needs
      1. Is the DOE's evaluation accurate, current, and complete?
      2. What services does your child need (for example, speech therapy; occupational therapy; 1:1 aide or skills trainer; nursing/medication; Extended School Year; and 504 accommodations (extra time, sit close to the teacher, physical changes in materials or class, etc.)?
      3. What services should be added, dropped, or changed?
    2. Consult with advocates and/or attorneys who are knowledgeable about the IEP process. You have the right to invite advocates, experts, and lawyers to attend IEP meetings with you, although IDEA does not provide for reimbursement of attorney's fees for attending IEPs, and currently, expert witness fees are not reimbursable.
    3. Ask the DOE to provide an agenda in advance of the meeting and let them know in writing if any changes should be made.
  2. Attending the IEP Meeting
    1. You will receive a "Conference Announcement" from the DOE that sets a date, time, and location for the IEP meeting, states its purpose, and lists the persons the DOE has invited to attend.
    2. If you cannot attend on the date or time stated, call the DOE contact person named in the notice as soon as possible and re-schedule. Both parties to the process (parents and the DOE) are required to work together in good faith to find a mutually convenient time.
    3. Confirm all contacts with the DOE in writing.
    4. Bring any evaluations, test results, and other documents to the meeting that describe your child's needs.
    5. Parents are members of the IEP team, and the law requires that they be given "meaningful participation." Be respectful of other participants, but protect your child's right to comment on all elements of the IEP, placement in special education classes, "pull-out" from regular classes, and any other matters you wish to discuss. Remember - IEP meetings are supposed to be collaborative efforts that serve the best interests of YOUR CHILD!! If you don't speak up for your child...WHO WILL??
    6. Confirm all requests and disagreements in writing as soon as possible after the meeting concludes, and keep a copy!
    7. Keep cool and focused (yes, that's easier said than done)!


Finding Professional Help

Special Education Lawyers

Matthew C. Bassett
Hawaii Disability Rights Center
1132 Bishop Street, Suite 2102
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 949-2922

Susan Dorsey
Levin Education Access Project
851 Fort Street Mall, Floor 4
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 888-9889 sdorsey@leaphawaii.com

Jerel D. Fonseca
Fonseca & Ching
841 Bishop Street, Suite 1065
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 521-1141

Kirstin M. Hamman
33 North Market St., Suite 302
Wailuku, HI 96793
(808) 419-6556

Stanley E. Levin
Levin Education Access Project
851 Fort Street, Floor 4
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 888-9889

Keith H.S. Peck
3360 Kamaaina Place
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 384-7325

Eric A. Seitz
Haseko Center
820 Mililani Street, Suite 714
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 533-7434

Carl M. Varady
American Savings Bank Tower
1001 Bishop Street, Suite 2870
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 523-8447

Irene E. Vasey
Kaneohe, HI
(808) 261-2614

Pro Bono Law Firms

Hawaii Access to Justice Commission

Striving to Meet Rule 6.1 (50 hours of pro bono legal services per lawyer each year)

Ashford & Wriston
1099 Alakea St # 1400
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 539-0400

Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing
1001 Bishop St # 1800
Honolulu, HI 96813 (808) 524-1800

Ayabe Chong Nishimoto Sia & Nakamura
1003 Bishop St # 2500
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 537-6119

Cades Schutte
1000 Bishop St # 1200
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 521-9200

Chee Markham & Feldman
1001 Bishop Street #1000
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 523-0111

Carlsmith Ball, LLP
1001 Bishop St # 2200
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 523-2500

Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
1003 Bishop Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 531-8031

Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel
1099 Alakea St # 1800
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 547-5600

Schlack Ito Lockwood Piper & Elkind
745 Fort Street, Suite 1500
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 523-6040

Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher
733 Bishop St # 1900
Honolulu, HI 96813 (808) 537-6100

Special Education Advocates

Hawaii Disability Rights Center
1132 Bishop Street, Suite 2102
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 949-2922

Epic Foundation (surrogate parents)
2535 South King Street, Room 304
Honolulu, HI 96826
(808) 955-6100

Learning Disabilities Association of Hawaii
Honolulu – (808) 536-9684
Waianae – (808) 696-5361
Neighbor Islands – (808) 533-9684

Private Schools in Hawaii

Autism Management Services Maui http://autismmaui.com/

Variety School http://www.varietyschool.org/

Assets School http://www.assets-school.net/

Horizons Academy http://www.horizonsacademy.org/

Private Schools on the Mainland

Heartspring School (Wichita, Kansas) http://www.heartspring.org

Devereaux (Pennsylvania, Florida) http://www.devereux.org/site/PageServer

Chileda (La Crosse, Wisconsin) http://chileda.org/


Other Resources

SEAC Reports on Due Process Cases in Hawaii


Authority for IDEA State Advisory Panels

20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(21) -- State advisory panel

(A) In general

The State has established and maintains an advisory panel for the purpose of providing policy guidance with respect to special education and related services for children with disabilities in the State.

(B) Membership

Such advisory panel shall consist of members appointed by the Governor, or any other official authorized under State law to make such appointments, be representative of the State population, and be composed of individuals involved in, or concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, including--

(i) parents of children with disabilities (ages birth through 26);

(ii) individuals with disabilities;

(iii) teachers;

(iv) representatives of institutions of higher education that prepare special education and related services personnel;

(v) State and local education officials, including officials who carry out activities under subtitle B of title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.);

(vi) administrators of programs for children with disabilities;

(vii) representatives of other State agencies involved in the financing or delivery of related services to children with disabilities;

(viii) representatives of private schools and public charter schools;

(ix) not less than 1 representative of a vocational, community, or business organization concerned with the provision of transition services to children with disabilities;

(x) a representative from the State child welfare agency responsible for foster care; and

(xi) representatives from the State juvenile and adult corrections agencies.

(C) Special rule

A majority of the members of the panel shall be individuals with disabilities or parents of children with disabilities (ages birth through 26).

(D) Duties

The advisory panel shall--

(i) advise the State educational agency of unmet needs within the State in the education of children with disabilities;

(ii) comment publicly on any rules or regulations proposed by the State regarding the education of children with disabilities;

(iii) advise the State educational agency in developing evaluations and reporting on data to the Secretary under section 1418 of this title;

(iv) advise the State educational agency in developing corrective action plans to address findings identified in Federal monitoring reports under this subchapter; and

(v) advise the State educational agency in developing and implementing policies relating to the coordination of services for children with disabilities.


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