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EDU-X745A Special Education Advocacy Program (prev #: EDU-503OH)

Course Description

Learn to Protect the Rights to Individualized Educational Programming for Students With Disabilities

The right to individualized educational programming for students with disabilities is legally guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, commonly referred to as IDEA. Under IDEA, every child with a disability is entitled to a “free appropriate public education” in the least restrictive environment. This includes special education and related services that make it possible for every child to make meaningful educational progress. IDEA requires specific timelines and deadlines for parents and school district personnel involved in the provision of a student’s special education, as well as strict procedural rules that must be followed. Additionally, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 entitles children with disabilities to educational programs, services and accommodations and applies to a broader range of students then IDEA. Many families seek the assistance of an advocate to help them develop and implement Individualized Educational Programs (IEP) and to understand their children’s rights under IDEA.


Learner Outcomes

  • View the impact of disability on the family and special education law
  • Draw on legal knowledge necessary to advocate on behalf of your students with disabilities
  • Become an effective and collaborative advocate
  • Enhance your skills, knowledge and marketability in the field of special education advocacy

Course Details

Number of Units: 3

Who Should Attend:

  • Parents, caretakers, grandparents and extended family of children (birth-22 years) with special needs
  • Professionals involved in the special education process including school administrators, teachers and advocates as well as related service providers such as occupational, physical and speech therapists
  • Graduate students interested in working in the special needs field and college and university professors teaching in the field
  • Community agencies providing services to individuals with special needs and their families

Course Format: Classroom.

Instructors: Moises Barón, Ph.D., formerly served as Director of the Counseling Center at USD and was Director of Psychological Services at Vista Hill Hospital. He served the needs of children and adults with special needs and their families as a clinical psychologist in private practice and as clinical supervisor at several clinics settings in San Diego including The Center for Counseling at Catholic Charities and Southwood Hospital. Dr. Barón has taught graduate level classes and numerous professional trainings on the needs of families of children with special needs and best practices to serve them. He is the developer of the Needs Identification and Intervention Model (NIIM©), the assessment process utilized by COMPASS to help families identify their needs and develop comprehensive Family Action Plans.

Margaret A. Dalton, J.D., is an attorney and professor at USD School of Law, where she also serves as Faculty Director for Clinical and Placement Education. She teaches an upper class elective, Special Education Law, and supervises the Education and Disability Clinic.  She also is affiliated faculty with the Center for Education Policy and Law.  Dalton has been recognized for her work in education law by the COMPASS Family Center, San Diego Law Justice Foundation, the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, and the State Bar of California.  Dalton recently served two years on the Office of Administrative Hearings, Special Education Advisory Committee and currently serves on the State Bar's Trust Fund Foundation's IOLTA Restructuring Task Force.  She has served as a consultant for the California Judicial Council's Committee on Access and Fairness, the National Association of Child Advocates, and the California Office of Women's Health.  She has been quoted by U.S. News & World Report, National Public Radio, Los Angeles Daily Journal, and many other media.

Mary Baker-Ericzén, Ph.D., is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, specializing in child and adolescent mental health and developmental disabilities with over 20 years experience providing psychological assessments and treatment. She received her Master’s in counseling and her Doctorate in clinical, school and counseling psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and internship/post-doctoral work at the University of California, San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital. She is a Research Scientist at the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (CASRC) and Psychologist at the Autism Discovery Institute at Rady's Children Hospital in San Diego with involvement in numerous research grants, publishing over 35 articles and chapters. She is an adjunct faculty at the University of San Diego in the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) in the School of Leadership and Educational Sciences and clinical faculty at the University of California, San Diego Department of Psychiatry. She is also the Director of the Intricate Mind Institute, LLC and founding member of the COMPrehensive Access to Services and Support for Special Needs Families (COMPASS) program at USD.

Cara Lucier, Esq., is an attorney specializing in Education Law. Cara has represented school districts throughout California in the areas of Special Education Law, Charter Schools, and Litigation. She represented school districts at IEP team meetings, mediations, due process hearings, and in Federal and State courts. Cara also represented families of disabled children. In addition to her position as an instructor for the Special Education Advocacy Program, Cara is frequently asked to teach legal trainings and seminars in the area of education and disabilities law.

Summer Stech, Esq., is a California licensed attorney and is the Program Director and Legal Advocacy Coordinator for Talk About Curing Autism. Stech also works as an instructor at San Diego State University teaching Special Education Legislation, Leadership and Management. Having worked in the fields of Special Education and Special Education law and advocacy for the past fourteen years, Stech has worked as a solo attorney practitioner, a school district Program Specialist, a Staff Attorney for legal non-profits and a Special Education teacher.

Robin Champlin, Esq. is an attorney who has spent her ten year career representing both parents and school districts all over Southern California in a variety of matters related to education meetings, mediation, due process hearings and Regional Center disputes.  Robin has experienced special education issues in her own family which gives her a unique perspective in understanding parents' needs.  In additional to her legal practice, she regularly gives presentations on special education law and advocacy techniques.  She previously served as the supervising attorney for COMPASS at the YMCA.



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