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29 + years experience

Disability & Special Needs Law

Children with Disabilities

As a parent of a child with a disability, there are many things you may have to do: Advocate for your child’s special education and healthcare; Prepare your child for adulthood through vocational rehabilitation, Medicaid, Social Security Disability or SSI; Arrange for your child’s needs through special needs trusts, powers of attorney or guardianship.

Attorney Zakre has advised hundreds of families about their rights and responsibilities so that their child’s rights and needs are protected throughout their lives.

Read more about special education and special needs trusts.

10 Tips to Improve your Child's Special Education

  1. Agree to extension of evaluation only when it doesn’t matter.
  2. Link goals to academic standards. Get them on the website or from the DOE.
  3. Don’t give up on short-term objectives.
  4. Get good documentation of progress.
  5. Check teacher certifications for special ed teachers and aides, particularly.
  6. Know who is going to do what.
  7. Don’t use the IEP meeting as a substitute for one-on-one contact with your child’s teachers. Meet each of your child’s teachers individually.
  8. Use email. Document everything.
  9. Don’t let the procedures get in the way of the substance.
  10. Attach a brief summary of your child’s disability to the IEP and include under accommodations that each teacher read it.
Sheila has drafted over 100 trusts, wills and powers of attorney for adults and senior citizens, and has represented senior citizens and their families in preserving assets when faced with long-term or nursing home care.

Choosing the right school

How do I know if the school is doing what it should for my special education child?


  1. Are evaluations in area of disability done every three years at least?
  2. Compare different administrations of the same evaluation. Is there improvement? If there was improvement, was the improvement enough to allow child to progress in the same curriculum that children without disabilities follow? If no, was there a meeting to review/revise IEP?
  3. Are the teachers/teacher’s assistants, therapist or counselors aware of the IEP and is it being followed?
  4. Is placement based on the IEP, or was the IEP based on the placement?
  5. Is placement appropriate to the needs of the child? Yes No-violation
  6. If yes, it is also the least restrictive environment?
IF YOU ANSWERED ‘NO” to any of these questions, your child may not be getting a free appropriate public education. Trust your instincts. Call Attorney Zakre for a special education consultation (hourly fees apply).