Consultation and education for parents of students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs.) Support in preparing for IEP meetings, reviewing IEP drafts, and navigating through the special education process.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) recognizes the importance and expertise of parents representing their child's unique needs. Parents are an equal member of the team as decisions are made concerning educational placement, support, and services their child will receive.

Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Act in 1972. The purpose of this law is to ensure that every child with special needs receives a Free, Appropriate, Public Education: FAPE.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: IDEA, was reauthorized in 2004. This was enacted to address what was observed during the first 30 years of the Act.  The expectation had been that children would make substantial progress if they were in a more restrictive setting. The assumption was that once children caught up to their peers, they could be mainstreamed back into the regular education setting. Unfortunately, that was not the success hoped for in the great majority of cases.

Studies revealed that children with special needs made better progress when they were more included with their typical peers. Three areas of dramatic improvement are communication, language, and social skills. Children need other children who can model these skills for them on a daily basis, both at work and at play.

A child with a disability may also require intensive one-on-one or direct instructional assistance if there are physical needs, or other special services and supports. However, schools are first required to consider and document efforts to keep a child in the least restrictive setting, with necessary supports and services delivered within that setting. Schools must be able to demonstrate that, even with substantial support and services delivered within the least restrictive setting, a child does not make meaningful progress.

Overview, Explanation and Comparison of IDEA 2004 and IDEA 97

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004: Overview, Explanation and Comparison of IDEA 2004 & IDEA 97 by Peter W. D. Wright, Esq. describes the substantive changes to the five key statutes of IDEA 2004 by section and subsection.

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My goal is to help families get to a place with the school where they are happy with all components of the IEP, including programming, placement, accommodations/modifications, goals, and related services.  I can review the IEP and assessment reports with you, and help you to understand the data. Based on the data and your concerns, I can provide letters to send to your school district in support of what is in the best interests of your child. I can also help you prepare for IEP meetings to ensure that your concerns are not only heard and understood, but also addressed.  

I have an M.Ed in special education, and I have worked in the public school, non-public school, and charter school sectors.  I am a non-lawyer advocate and consultant, and my goal is to help parents before they get to the point of requiring legal assistance.

Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation.

Gail Calacsan, M.Ed | Special Education Family Support & Consultant