All Header Images © Daniel Voegelin  

Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy Boot Camp

Friday and Saturday, October 4-5, 2019

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Two Day Boot Camp, a Wrightslaw training program featuring Pete and Pam Wright, is being sponsored by Abled Advocacy, Inc.

The program will be held at: 

The Lakeside Inn
595 North Ave.
Wakefield, MA 01880

Program Description

Choose the schedule that works best for you. Friday’s focus will be on special education law and Saturday will focus on advocacy skills.

Wrightslaw programs are designed to meet the needs of parents, educators, health care providers, advocates and attorneys who represent children with disabilities regarding special education. The program is not disability specific.


Day 1: Friday, October 4, 2019 – Special Education Law
8:00-9:00 Registration
  • Introduction
  • Overview of Book: Wrightslaw: Special Education Law
  • IDEA History – PARC + Mills Cases – Past US Supreme Court Cases
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-12:00 IDEA (con’t)

  • Section 1400: Findings & Purposes
  • Section 1401: Key Definitions
  • Section 1412: LRE, ESY, Child Find, Private Placements
12:00-1:00 Lunch
  • Measuring Progress: Understanding Tests & Measurements & the Bell Curve, Standard Scores, Scaled Scores, % Ranks
    Demo: Charting Test Scores
  • Section 1414(a,b,c): Evaluations
    Section 1414(d) IEPs
2:30-2:45 Break
2:45-4:00 Section 1414(d) IEPs (cont’d)
4:00-4:30 Questions and Answers
Day 2: Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Special Education Advocacy Tactics & Strategies
  • Section 1415 – Due Process, Rules of Procedure, Discipline
  • Other Statutes – Section 504 + ADA AA + ESSA
  • Recent Cases + USDOJ cases and OCR rulings
  • Legal issues: Charter Schools
  • Legal issues: Food Allergies, Anaphylaxis, Epi-Pens, Diabetes, Epilepsy, etc.

The Journey – From Emotions to Advocacy – Tactics

  • The Parent as the Special Ed Manager and Expert
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-12:00 From Emotions to Advocacy – Tactics

  • Developing the Master Plan
  • Knowing the Rules of the Game
  • Recognizing and Avoiding the Fatal Obstacles
  • How to Deal with Conflict, a Healthy and Normal event
  • Crisis, Emergency, Help
  • Recognizing and Avoiding the Fatal Obstacles
  • Organization of the Child’s File
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:30 Advocacy Strategies

  • Emotions, Conflict and Normal Obstacles
  • School Culture
  • Rule of Adverse Assumptions
2:30-2:45 Break
2:45-4:00 Advocacy Strategies (con’t)

  • Hazards of Litigation & Outcome Prediction
  • Comprehensive Evaluations
  • Paper Trails & Letters
  • School Meetings: Preparation & Survival Strategies

Closing – In Summation

4:00-4:30 Questions and Answers
Registration Fee
Both Days
Friday Only
Saturday Only

Note: If you register by September 1, 2019 you will receive FREE downloads of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Ed. and Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2016.

Conference fee includes continental breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, a Wrightslaw highlighter pen and the three Wrightslaw books which retail for $62.85 – Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd EditionWrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition, and Wrightslaw: All About IEPs.

Click here to register online.

Download and share the conference flyer. Download and share the sponsorship opportunities flyer.

Special Needs Accommodations: Contact Dawn Connelly via email abledadvocacy |at| no later than September 19, 2019.

Scholarships: No scholarships are available for this training. For Massachusetts residents MDDC may be able to provide some limited assistance. Please click here for details.

Refund Policy: No refunds will be given after September 19, 2019. Before September 19th refunds can be processed minus a $30 per registration processing fee. Substitutions are possible until October 1, 2019.

Questions? Contact the sponsors by email abledadvocacy |at| by telephone at 978-905-8151 or by fax 978-224-1036.


Wrightslaw programs often fill up early – don’t miss out!

Logistics, Directions and Accommodations


Map and directions to The Lakeside Inn.


Parking is free at The Lakeside Inn.


Boston Logan International (BOS)
(approximately 16 miles to venue)

Manchester-Boston Regional (MHT)
(approximately 43 miles to venue)

Hotel Accommotations

A block of rooms is being held at The Lakeside Inn. Single $99, Double $109. Cut off date to receive a discounted rate is September 19, 2019. Contact Al at 781-245-6100 or email alfredosenthal |at|


Supporting Families Day & New Legislator Reception 

Why should you go?

 Yes! I will see you there.

So many families care for their loved ones with disabilities at home and they rely on a variety of support services to do so. That’s why the Arc of Massachusetts is making supporting families and workforce issues (such as recruiting, training, and retaining) its legislative priorities in 2019. Join us at the State House to:

Talk about YOUR family.

What is going well?

Where do you experience gaps?

What is most important for a service provider to know and understand?




Gloria Ricardi Castillo

Director, Family Support Centers

We Are Family, Editor

6 Southside Road

Danvers, Massachusetts 01923


Contact us:

Aymee Lucifora, Program Director

Melissa O’Neill, Senior Program Coordinator 978-624-2380 or

Jessica Devine, Program Coordinator 978-624-2342 or


New Parent Checklist Empowers Families

New Parent Checklist Empowers Families

As a parent of two children in public schools, I appreciate how often I get updates on how they’re doing in school—sometimes as often as once a week! But it often leaves me wondering how my kids are stacking up against other kids their age in the district, state and country. And even as an employee at the Department of Education, I’m not always sure what questions I should be asking.


This is why I’m excited about a new parent checklist we’re releasing today in collaboration with America Achieves, National Council of La Raza, National PTA, and the United Negro College Fund. The parent checklist includes questions and resources that parents and caregivers can use to help ensure their children are getting the education they deserve. The checklist suggests key questions, tips for educational success and resources for more information.

The checklist follows the set of rights that the Department recently releasedoutlining what families should be able to expect for their children’s education. The rights follow the educational journey of a student—from access to quality preschool; to engagement in safe, well-resourced elementary and secondary schools that hold all students to high standards; to access to an affordable, quality college degree.

The checklist suggests these “key questions” that parents should pose to their child’s educators, including:

Quality: Is my child getting a great education?

  • How will you keep me informed about how my child is doing on a regular basis? How can we work together if my child falls behind?
  • Is my child on grade level, and on track to be ready for college and a career? How do I know?

Ready for Success: Will my child be prepared to succeed in whatever comes next?

  • How will you measure my child’s progress and ability in subjects including reading, math, science, the arts, social and emotional development, and other activities?
  • How much time will my child spend preparing for and taking state and district tests? How will my child’s teacher and I know how to use the results to help my child make progress?

Safe and Healthy: Is my child safe and cared for at school?

  • What programs are in place to ensure that the school is a safe, nurturing and positive environment? What are the discipline and bullying policies at the school?
  • Are the meals and snacks provided healthy? How much time is there for recess and/or exercise?

Great Teachers: Is my child engaged and learning every day?

  • How do I know my child’s teachers are effective?
  • How much time do teachers get to collaborate with one another?
  • What kind of professional development is available to teachers here?

Equity and Fairness: Does my child, and every child at my child’s school or program, have the opportunity to succeed and be treated fairly?

  • How does the school make sure that all students are treated fairly? (For example, are there any differences in suspension/expulsion rates by race or gender?)
  • Does the school offer all students access to the classes they need to prepare them for success, including English language learners and students with special needs (for example, Algebra I and II, gifted and talented classes, science labs, AP or IB classes, art, music)?

Check out the checklist for yourself.

Cameron Brenchley is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications at the U.S. Department of Education


Massport: Helping autistic kids earn their wings – Boston Globe – Opt. Ed – 4/14/14

Children with autism are frequently overwhelmed by new surroundings — loud noises, large crowds, and being touched by strangers can all cause panic. This can make traveling through airports a huge challenge.

Massport is trying to help. The agency this month ran its seventh “Wings for Autism” (See Below) event at Logan Airport, bringing together volunteers from three airlines, the Transportation Security Administration, and other vendors to offer about 160 kids with autism and their families the chance at a trial run going through airport security and boarding a flight. The daylong seminar is free and runs twice a year, in November and April. At other times, families with upcoming trips can schedule practice runs with Logan customer service staff or through the agency’s partner, the advocacy group Charles River Center

The Massport program has quickly become a national model: Six other airports have already  followed suit, and as many as 13 others are considering similar efforts. Massport launched the initiative after hearing of the experience of Susie Littlejohn and her son, Henry, who is autistic. In 2010, the Littlejohns were forced to call off a trip to Disney World after a glass elevator at Logan caused Henry to melt down. At this spring’s event, Henry, now 9, walked right on the plane and sat down. Says Susie Littlejohn, “The chance to practice has made all the difference.”


Wings for Autism

 The Wings for Autism program is designed specifically for families with autistic children to help ease the stress of flying.

To launch this unique program Massport teamed up with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), JetBlue and the Charles River Center (an autism support center).
A Different Kind of Dress Rehearsal With this unique concept in mind, Massport hosted a “dress rehearsal” open house day to give these families the opportunity to experience travel through Boston Logan before their actual trip.

Since 2011, Boston Logan held four Wings for Autism events and more than 1000 people attended. Families were able to familiarize themselves with the airport and travel procedures and kids had a chance to practice entering the airport, getting boarding passes at the ticket counter, checking bags, being screened at the TSA security checkpoint, and boarding the aircraft.

Increasing Awareness Not only is this a benefit to the families who participate, but it also provides a valuable training opportunity for airport, airline and TSA personnel to learn how to accommodate children with special needs and increase awareness within the airport community so that children with autism – and their families – can have a positive travel experience.
For additional information please e-mail
How To Get Involved If your family is interested in participating in the next Wings for Autism event at Boston Logan, please contact the Charles River Center.*
*Note: You do not have to be affiliated with the Charles River Center to participate and there is no cost for this program.


Boston Abilities Expo – September 20-22, 2013 Boston Convention Center

Abilities Expo—The Nation’s Leading Expo for People with Disabilities—to feature Push Girl’s Star Auti Angel, Paralympian Jennifer French along with an Extensive Line Up of New Products, Services and Technology at The BCEC, September 20-22

Boston, MA ~ Thousands of people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals are expected to attend Abilities Expo Boston on September 20-22, 2013 at The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (Hall C). Admission is free and show hours will be Friday 11 am to 5 pm, Saturday 11 am to 5 pm and Sunday 11 am to 4 pm. Admission is free.

Abilities Expo, Boston, is the newest in a series of Abilities Expos that take place around the country and have been doing so since 1979. Abilities Expo Boston features an impressive line-up of exhibits, celebrities, workshops, events and activities to appeal to people of all ages with the full spectrum of disabilities—including physical, learning, developmental and sensory disabilities.

“It’s not just that we provide a forum that showcases essential  technology to bridge the gap between ability and disability,” said David Korse,  president and CEO of Abilities Expo. “The Expo is always new and exciting with  a host of all-inclusive, adaptive activities.”

ASL interpreters, complimentary loaner scooters, wheelchair repair and a power chair charging station will also be available during show hours.

“The Expo provides the community of  people with disabilities access to life-enhancing products, education,  resources and fun,” said Korse. “We can’t wait help people explore the possibilities and open their  eyes to all the things they can do.”



Online pre-registration is now closed. FREE registration will be onsite at Abilities Expo this Friday through Sunday.

Thank you very much for your interest in the Boston Abilities Expo on September 20-22, 2013. Our event team is already onsite at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Hall C preparing to make this the best Abilities Expo yet.

Please come directly to the show this Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday where you can register for free and come right on in.

It’s going to be a great event! We look forward to meeting you in person!

If you have any questions, please call David Korse at (310) 405-1317.


Free Food Allergy Awareness Day at the Franklin Park Zoo hosted by Boston Children’s Hospital

Free Food Allergy Awareness Day at the Franklin Park Zoo hosted by Boston Children’s Hospital

Enjoy a Free Day at the Franklin Park Zoo Hosted by the Food Allergy Comprehensive Evaluation, Treatment and Support (FACETS) Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.  All costs of the event are covered for ANY family living with food allergies.  Faculty from Children’s Hospital will be speaking throughout the day on various topics (See below for schedule of talks).

Have any questions about food allergies ?  Come to our Ask The Expert table where our allergists, nurses, dietitians, social worker, and psychologist can answer your questions.

Learn about food allergy related products and receive free samples at the vendor area.

All families who are registered will have their admission covered, as well as access to free train rides, face painting, and other activities!

DATE: Saturday September 28, 2013 (Rain Date Sunday September 29th)
LOCATION: Franklin Park Zoo 1 Franklin Park Rd Boston, MA 02121
ZOO HOURS: 10 am – 6 pm
Free Parking

For updates to the event, and check for rain date status visit Boston Children’s Hospital Food Allergy Program Facebook Page  (

Schedule of Offered Talks

10:30 AM – 11:15 AM Lisa Bartnikas MD Topic: What You Need to Know About Food Allergies

11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Tara McCarthy MS, RD, LDN Topic: Nutrition & Food Allergies

12:00 PM – 12:45 PM Elizabeth Hait MD, MPH Topic: Updates on Eosinophilic Esophagitis

12:45 PM – 1:30PM LUNCH BREAK

1:30 PM – 2:15 PM Dale Umetsu MD, PhD Topic: What’s New in Food Allergy Research

2:15 PM – 3:00 PM Jenny LeBovidge PhD Topic: Coping with Food Allergies: Involving and Empowering Children

3:00 PM – 3:45 PM John Lee MD Topic: Myths & Interesting Facts about Food Allergy and Wrap Up


Transition Planning Seminars – Planning A Life Aug 8-9 and Travel Training Services Aug 27-28


PDF Version


Text Version

Planning A Life – Thursday & Friday August 8 & 9, 2013
Making the Most Out of High School

A Transition conference for families of Boston Public School students in Special Education
If you have a child in special education age 14 to 21, this transition conference is an important opportunity for you.

This FREE Transition conference is scheduled
for BOSTON families only

Thursday & Friday August 8 & 9, 2013
from 8:30am – 3:30pm

the KROC Center
650 Dudley Street
Dorchester, MA 02125

Come and Learn About:

•             Creating a VISION
•             Portfolio Development
•             Transition Requirements of IDEA 2004
•             Importance of TRANSITION ASSESSMENTS
•             Transition Planning Form to Transition goals into the IEP
•             Post Secondary Ed, Job Development, Community

 Please register with the Office of Special Education and Student Services at 617-635-8599
or email Sheila Litif or Helen Murphy


Travel Training – Tuesday & Wednesday August 27 & 28, 2013
Presented by Easter Seals

If you have a child in special education age 14 to 21, this travel training conference is an important opportunity for you.

This Travel Training conference is scheduled
for BOSTON families only

Tuesday & Wednesday August 27 & 28, 2013
from 8:30am – 4:30pm
Location: TBD

•             Learn about the importance of independent travel for young adults with disabilities for traveling to college, post-secondary education or work.

•             Hear from other families about the impact that learning to use public transportation has had on their child’s life;

•             Share thoughts, perceptions, and concerns about your child using public transportation and identify strategies and solutions to address these concerns.

Please register with the Office of Special Education and Student Services at 617-635-8599

or email Sheila Litif
or email Helen Murphy

Thank you.