Special Education Advocacy and
K Altman Law

Special education advocacy is a fundamental practice area at K Altman Law. We pride ourselves on having a special education advocacy team featuring members who have years of experience advising families about special education services, programs, and eligibility requirements. The rights of both parents and children are integral to any case involving a person who receives special education services.  

Parents may have children who have section 504 plans or Individualized Education Plans that educational institutions must follow to provide the child with necessary accommodations. Unfortunately, some teachers and administrators may neglect to carry out the provisions of a child’s 504 plan or Individualized Education Plan. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act 


The Americans with Disabilities Act protects individuals with disabilities and ensures they have the same opportunities as rights as those who do not have disabilities. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, discrimination against people with disabilities is prohibited. Many different entities must adhere to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, including local, state, and federal government services, public accommodations, and others. Provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act require educational institutions to provide accommodations for students with disabilities.  


The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that educational institutions make educational opportunities, extracurricular activities, and facilities open and accessible to all students. Both public and private schools must adhere to these provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act include the following:  


  • Special education 


  • Specialized computer equipment  


  • Reading assistance  


  • Interpreters  


  • Additional time between individual classes  


  • Class schedule changes  


  • Permitting students to videotape or record classes, lectures, and presentations 


  • Testing accommodations

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) offers extra protection to individuals with disabilities with regard to education. The following are some important components of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):  

  • The act assesses the effectiveness of tools implemented to educate children with disabilities  

  • The act assists individual states with formulating systems on intervention services for toddlers and infants with disabilities  

  • The act provides assistance to federal agencies, educational services agencies, local governments, and states for educational services for children with disabilities  

  • The act protects the rights of children with disabilities and their parents 


  • The act ensures that disabled children are provided with a “free appropriate public education,” with special emphasis on special education and related services that correspond to the unique needs of each disabled child  



Individualized Education Plan 

An Individualized Education Plan is a comprehensive and detailed summary of the special education services a child will receive. School staff members and the child’s parent or guardian create the Individualized Education Plan. The provisions contained in an Individualized Education Plan must be in accordance with existing laws educational requirements for students with disabilities.  

Both extracurricular activities and general education requirements are featured on a student’s Individualized Education Plan. Also, many activities that are not academic in nature may be associated with an Individualized Education Plan. Also, students should be working toward goals set out in their Individualized Education Plans. The educational institution can understand what services it must provide to the student by examining the Individualized Education Plan.  


The following are the thirteen eligibility categories for Individualized Education Plans:  


  • Intellectual disability  


  • Speech or Language Impairment 


  • Visual Impairment / Blindness  


  • Traumatic brain injury  


  • Specific learning disability  


  • Other health impairment  


  • Orthopedic impairment  


  • Multiple disabilities  


  • Hearing impairment  


  • Emotional disturbance  


  • Deafness  


  • Deaf-Blindness  


  • Autism Spectrum Disorder  


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973  

Some students need assistance regarding their 504 plan. The plan takes its name from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The law protects individuals from discrimination based on their disabilities. The act affects the rights guaranteed to individuals with disabilities. A student with a 504 plan requires special accommodations as part of their education at public schools.  


The 504 plan specifies the accommodations needed by a particular student. These accommodations make it possible for a student to participate in regular classrooms rather than special education classrooms.  


The 504 plan or Individualized Education Plan will be tailored to a particular student. Every child is unique, and the accommodations associated with one student may be different from those that apply to another student. Educators, administrators, and staff need to be aware of the provisions contained in a student’s 504 plan or Individualized Education Plan. Also, a 504 plan is renewed annually and reevaluated every three years.  



Available Services for Clients with Non-Legal Special Education Issues  

Having a special education advocate on your side can reduce some of the stress and anxiety experienced by parents and guardians who are helping children with non-legal special education issues. The following are some of the services offered by K Altman Law for individuals seeking a special education advocate:  


  • Sharing updated information regarding national, state, and local resources for children with disabilities  


  • Drafting complaints, responses, and requests to school districts, school boards, and administrators  


  • Scrutinizing reports and evaluations to help parents and guardians acquire a better understanding of the relationship between a student and a particular educational institution  


  • Organizing services provided by speech language pathologists, medical professionals, and others  


  • Attending Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings with parents and guardians  


  • Attending Section 504 meetings with parents and guardians  


  • Analyzing documents to assess problems with monitoring, accommodations, and required services  


  • Helping parents and guardians understand their rights and their children’s rights under laws pertaining to special education in the United States  


  • Advising parents, guardians, and family members about eligibility requirements for special education  


Special Education Advocacy Consultations: The Basics  

Special education advocacy consultations are a good way for parents and guardians to learn more about the services provided by the special education advocates at K Altman Law. We help family members and children with their non-legal special education needs. You may not understand how to proceed after learning that an educational institution may not be fulfilling its duty to provide your child with the services and accommodations they need. The following is what you can expect during a special education advocacy consultation:  


  • Discussing the present needs of parents, guardians, and children who may need to revise an Individualized Education Plan or schedule an appointment with a medical specialist  


  • Assessing the current services and accommodations provided to the student by an educational institution  


  • Formulating response plans for pending evaluations, upcoming assessments, and unexpected diagnoses 


  • Reviewing relevant educational and medical information to help the child achieve their goals  


Services for Special Education Students  

Learning that your child has been denied the services or accommodations they require can be alarming. A special education advocate helps families address the problems they have with educational institutions. The following are some of the most common problems students may face at educational institutions:  


  • Suspension  


  • Bullying  


  • Inadequate classroom support  


  • Difficulty concentrating for long periods of time  


  • Problems using campus maps or navigational tools  


  • Language deficits  


  • Speech deficits  


  • Unsuitable classroom assignments  


  • Insufficient behavioral support  



Federal and state laws may be implicated in conflicts between special education students and their schools. Our special education advocates work with attorneys at K Altman Law to assist students and their families with every aspect of their special education needs.  


Call Today to Speak with a Special Education Advocate at K Altman Law  

The special education advocacy team at K Altman Law assists parents, guardians, and students who are not receiving the services they require from an educational institution. We help children with developmental disabilities get the support and accommodations they need to thrive inside and outside the classroom. Call K Altman Law at 888-984-1341 to speak to a special education advocate today. 

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Rebecca earned a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language from Kent State University and a master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado.  She has taught students with special needs since 2004 and continues to support families through their personal education struggles and triumphs as a Special Education Advocate.  Rebecca has four children and vast experience navigating the special education system as a parent, professional, and global advocate for disability rights. Before coming to K Altman Law, she was an Assistant Teaching Professor at Bowling Green State University in the College of Education and Human Development. She has developed countless college courses, training workshops, and parent support groups for a myriad of special education topics including low-incidence disabilities (deafness/blindness), communication disorders, autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities. Rebecca remains committed to providing families with the knowledge and support required for long-term success with educational programming, placement, services, and IEP/504 plan implementation.

Rebecca Sidders


Special Education Supervisor
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Thelma Gardiner graduated from UCLA and has over 20 years of experience working within education as a K-12 special education teacher, facilitator and transition advisor. She has created and administered countless individualized education programs (IEPs) and 504 plans for students during the span of her career. Thelma is knowledgeable about curriculum development and implementation to align with federal and state standards for the special education population. Her areas of specialty are mild to moderate diagnosis with an emphasis on behavioral and learning disabilities. These include ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as emotional and oppositional defiant student population. She has an extensive background in collaborative teaching and differentiated instruction. 

Thelma expanded her work to include vocational evaluations of adults with special needs as they transition into independent living.  She has served as a Vocational Rehabilitation liaison while developing and implementing a program curriculum grounded in evidence-based practice and centered on life skill development and job readiness.

Thelma Gardiner

BA Anthropology, 

MA Special Education

Special Education Advisor