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Let's Talk Sped Law

Author: Let's Talk Sped Law by Special Education Attorney, Jeffrey L. Forte, Esq.

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A national podcast dedicated to all things relating to special education law. Hosted By: Jeffrey L. Forte, Esq. - A Special Education Attorney & Certified Child Advocate. Contact Us: or visit:
20 Episodes
In this episode, we discuss the importance of how a multidisciplinary evaluation can help to more fully inform your child's IEP placement and programming needs with guest speaker, Dr. Chris Bogart, owner and Co-Director of Sasco River Center LLC located in Fairfield County, CT.Dr. Bogart is licensed clinical psychologist who has worked in both the private and public sectors for the past twenty-five years, Dr. Bogart works with children, adolescents and parents, conducting comprehensive psychoeducational and AD/HD evaluations as well as therapy services. He also provides program consultations to local schools, as well as supervision to doctoral students in psychology.  Dr. Bogart serves as the Board President of the Board of Trustees of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities; as a member of the Board of Trustees for New Canaan Country School; and as a member of the Advisory Board for the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education.Prior to co-founding the Sasco River Center, Dr. Bogart held various clinical positions including staff psychologist at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and Director of Psychology at the Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center in Orangeburg, New York. While serving as director, Dr. Bogart organized and administered an American Psychological Association approved externship training program for clinical psychology and social work graduate students. He supervised staff psychologists on children’s and adolescent inpatient units and he devised a hospital-wide behavior modification program for the children. Dr. Bogart has provided numerous classes, lectures and training programs on various topics such as parent education, executive functions assessment and coaching, psychological testing, and stress management. He has also conducted research studies in various areas including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Social Skills Training, and depression in children.Dr. Bogart received his undergraduate training at Georgetown University and received his doctoral degree from The American University in 1986.For more information, visit:
Dr. John Molteni is the Director of Behavioral Health at Prism Autism Education and Consultation, located in Farmington, CT. Dr. Molteni is a clinician and educator with over 20 years of experience in the field of Autism and Developmental Disabilities as a Psychologist, Behavior Analyst, and Educator. He has have provided clinical and educational services from preschool to young adulthood in various settings. Throughout his career, Dr. Molteni has had the opportunity to establish unique programs in public schools, higher education, and clinically at the Hospital for Special Care. In 2012, in partnership with the Hospital for Special Care, he launched the Autism Center, an outpatient clinic, and later the Autism Inpatient Unit, one of 10 in the country. In this episode, Dr. Molteni shares Prism's big announcement about launching Prism Academy. For more information about Prism, visit:
Parents unit! The COPAA 2021 Annual Conference is virtual this year. What does that mean for you? Well, you can attend "virtually" for a fraction of the cost and become more fully informed about your child's education rights. In this episode we talk with the CEO of COPAA Denise Marshall.Denise Stile Marshall, M.S., Chief Executive OfficerDenise has led the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) since 2005. She  graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Science. Denise has over 40 years’ experience in the field of disabilities in a variety of support, management, and advocacy capacities. She has a wealth of non-profit association management experience and is a dynamic trainer, experienced in leading sessions for participants of diverse abilities and experience levels. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of COPAA Denise was the Director of Training and Educational Outreach for the national organization TASH from 1995-2005, the Program Manager and trainer for Maryland Leaders in Disability Policy; and a Positive Behavior Support specialist and Director of the National Training Center for The Kennedy Krieger Institute in Maryland among other consulting and management positions.  Denise's specific areas of interest are civil right to quality education, positive behavioral supports, prevention and reduction in the use of restraints, abolishment of seclusion and aversive techniques, family supports, grassroots advocacy, self-advocacy, and experiential learning.   Denise can be reached at exec @ or 844-426-7224 x 700.For more information about Denis, visit: Register for COPAA 2021, visit:
In this episode leading clinical expert Dr. Elizabeth M. Krysak discussed conducting comprehensive remote evaluations during the COVID pandemic. Liz Kryszak, PhD, is a psychologist at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Child Development Center (CDC) and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Ohio State University. Liz’s clinical and research work focuses on the evaluation and assessment of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities including Autism, with a particular focus on assessment of very young children and creating system changes to improve access to services for families. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, she led her clinic’s transition to assessment through telehealth, developing an observation protocol that allowed clinicians to partner with parents to assess for symptoms of autism in a home environment. To learn more about Dr. Krysak visit,
In this episode of Let's Talk Sped Law, we interview Sharri Lungarini! Shari is an amazing parent, advocate, and clinician within the Connecticut disability rights community. Her story both personally and professionally is so inspiring that it absolutely must be shared with fellow parents, clinicians and advocates. Sharri Lungarini is a Registered Behavior Technician working in the CCSN Behavioral Health ABA Clinic. Sharri received her master’s degree in Behavioral Education from the University of Cincinnati and is currently receiving supervision towards becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  Sharri’s clinical experiences include working with learners with complex learning profiles across a variety of environments including in the home, in the community, and at school.  Her prior work experiences and/or supervisory experiences extend across children ages 18 months old through 21 within the CT Birth to Three system, public schools, and in DCF mandated programs.  In addition to her clinical experiences, Sharri actively volunteers with local organizations advocating for the advancement of the behavior analytic profession such as the Connecticut Association for Behavior Analysis (CTABA) and the Behavior Analyst Leadership Council (BALC).  She served as a Vice-Chair with Connecticut Interagency Birth-to-Three Coordination Council (ICC).  Her professional interests include early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI), family training, advocacy, and legislation.To learn more about Shari and CCSN, visit:
Chris Abildgaard, LPC, NCC, NCSP is the owner and director of the Social Learning Center, LLC. located in Cheshire, CT. Chris has been in private practice for over 13 years. Chris is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, a Board Certified national Counselor, & a Licensed Professional Counselor with a specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders. In addition to a Masters and 6th Year degree in School Psychology, he has earned a Graduate Certificate from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Behavioral Interventions in Autism. Chris is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Education (Ed.D) in School Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. In this episode, we talk about the importance of providing further mental health support to our kids as we continue to transition to more in-person school learning.
Amanda Zecchin, M.S., OTR/LAmanda Zecchin, M.S., OTR/L, is a licensed Occupational Therapist with over a decade of experience.  She recently founded A to Z Occupational Therapy LLC in Greenwich, CT.  As the mother of a child with special needs she is uniquely qualified to serve the needs of other families in similar circumstances. To find out more information, visit 
Attorney Jack RobinsonOn March 22, 2017 the United States Supreme Court in the case of Endrew F. v Douglas County School District ruled that a school district's IEP must provide a child with a disability more than just a de minimis, or minimal, educational benefit. In a 16-page decision, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, wrote for a unanimous court ruling that School Districts must offer individualized education programs that are “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” In this episode, we sit down and talk with the attorney that represented the parents of Endrew F ("Drew") and argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court and won -- Attorney Jack Robinson!
Katie Curra SLP, Founder of Kids Language CenterSpeech and language pathologist, Katie Curra, is the founder and owner of Kids Language Center in Cos Cob, CT.  In this episode, we talk about how speech and language services are assessed and evaluated as well as implemented within an IEP. We also talk about the importance of having your child's school SLP evaluator work closely with the rest of the school team.  Lastly, we talk about when to recognize when an SLP evaluation is not comprehensive and what a parent should do about it.  
Special Education Attorney Ashley BarlowIn this episode, we sit down with Kentucky Special Education Attorney Ashley Barlow to gain insight on how best to build an inclusion-based IEP for your child with the public school setting. Not only is Ashley a special education inclusion attorney, but is also a fellow parent of a child with an IEP.  We go over and discuss what terms like inclusion, LRE, push-in, pull-out and continuum of placement mean, as well a building an IEP matrix.Ashley is also the founder of the special education podcast Ashley Barlow Company, located at 
Regardless of the area of law, all attorneys must meet with a prospective client in what is commonly referred to as “the initial legal consultation.” This critical meeting is the first meeting that is held between you, the potential new client, and the potential attorney. In this episode, we dive into what how best to fully prepare for your first meeting with a special education attorney, what to look and listen for, and how to properly and ethically establish the formal attorney-client relationship for the betterment of advancing your child's right an appropriate education. 
Dr. Peter GerhardtIn this podcast we talk about transition planning during COVID with Dr. Gerhardt. Dr. Gerhardt is the Executive Director of EPIC School in Paramus, NJ. He has more than 30 years experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of individuals with autism spectrum disorders in educational, employment, residential and community-based settings. Dr. Gerhardt is the author or the coauthor of many articles and book chapters on the needs of adolescents and adults with ASDs and has presented nationally and internationally on this topic. Dr. Gerhardt is the founding chair of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) and currently sits on numerous professional advisory boards including Behavior Analysis in Practice, the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, and the Autism Society of America.  He received his doctorate from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Graduate School of Education.
Let's Talk Sped Law is now in its second season and spreading across the nation! In this episode top special education lawyer Jill Hornig talks about her journey into special education law - both as a parent of two children on the autism spectrum as well as from the perspective as a special education attorney. From binders to electronic filing, learn how to effectively organize your child's IEPS, evaluations, progress reports, and data during good and challenging times throughout your child's education. 
Patricia Howey has supported families of children with disabilities since 1985. She has a specific learning disability and became involved in special education when her youngest child entered kindergarten. Pat has children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who have a variety of disabilities and she has used her experience to advocate for better special education services for several of them.Pat is a charter member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), serving on its Board of Directors from 2000 through 2003. She has been a Commissioner on the Tippecanoe (County) Human Relations Committee, a graduate of Leadership Lafayette and Partners in Policymaking, and a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau. She has been on the faculty of the College of William and Mary Law School’s Institute of Special Education Advocacy since its inception in 2011.  Pat has an A.S. and a B.A. in Paralegal Studies from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is an Indiana Registered Paralegal and an affiliate member of the Indiana Bar and the American Bar Associations.Pat began her advocacy career as a volunteer for the Task Force on Education for the Handicapped (now InSource), Indiana’s Parent Training and Information Center. In 1990, she opened her advocacy practice and served families throughout Indiana by representing them at IEP meetings, mediation, and due process hearings.In 2017, Pat closed her advocacy practice and began working on a contract basis as a special education paralegal. Attorneys in Indiana, Texas, and California contracted with her to review documents, spot issues, draft due process complaints, prepare for hearings, and assist at hearings. In January 2019, she became an employee of the Connell Michael Kerr law firm, owned by Erin Connell, Catherine Michael, and Sonja Kerr. Her duties have now expanded to assisting with federal court cases.
Ever wondered what's the difference between a psychological, psycho-educational and neuropsychological evaluation? Our guest speak, Dr. Nick Gelbar, breaks it down for us and demystifies the differences for the benefits of parents that are seeking guidance!You can also read Dr. Gelbar's blog about this topic clicking here to read his article.
COPAA’s mission is to protect and enforce the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities and their families.  Our primary goal is to secure high quality educational services and to promote excellence in advocacy.COPAA works to:Enable parents to work more effectively with school personnel to plan and obtain effective educational programs for their children with disabilities;Encourage more attorneys and advocates to undertake representation of parents of children with disabilities in their efforts to plan and obtain effective educational programs;Provide advocate, attorney, parent and other professional COPAA members with the practical resources and information they need to obtain effective educational programs for students with disabilities;Enable members to network and share information and legal resources;Provide training for special education advocates on all aspects of special education advocacy and informal conflict resolution;Provide training for attorneys on legal practice: including due process, litigation, and informal conflict resolution;Enable parents to locate advocates, attorneys, and related professionals through COPAA's website directory;File amicus curiae briefs in cases of national significance.We sat down with COPAA's Legal Director, Attorney Selene Almazan to discuss the scope COPAA's national footprint in advocating for the rights of children with disabilities.
Do you need to hire a special education lawyer for your child, but you don’t know where to start? Join me as we briefly discuss and learn the importance of hiring the right special education attorney for you and your child with a disability. Hiring the right special education lawyer is a critical decision. In this podcast, we briefly walk you through what you should look for.-Jeff Forte, Esq. 
As we all come to grips with the new temporary norms across our country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we understand and fully appreciate the impact this outbreak is having on special education and related services to our students with disabilities and their families. It is absolutely essential that families make informed decisions about the educational wellbeing of their children with disabilities by consulting with their local education agency. It is also equally important that families know their child’s rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) during this crisis situation, including their potential rights to compensatory education (“comp ed”).What is Compensatory Education?Is Your School District Closed, Open or Available for E-Learning?How is Compensatory Education Calculated? 
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