The Beacon
Journal of Special Education Law & Practice
ISSN: 1536-7193                               

Winter 2002 (V. 2, N. 1)

In this Issue

Using an Expert as an Effective Resource

Preparation of the Psycho-educational Report

Factors to Consider When Selecting an Evaluator

Observations from the Transom

Editorial Policy


Special education law is an exciting, rapidly developing area of law.

The Beacon
, a multi-disciplinary electronic journal of special education law and practice from Harbor House Law Press, publishes articles and essays for attorneys and advocates who represent children with disabilities and others who are interested in special education legal topics.
Each issue of The Beacon focuses on a theme and includes practical and theoretical articles.

This issue is the first in a two-part series about Expert Witnesses. In this issue, we examine the roles experts play in designing appropriate special education programs and in monitoring the child's progress. In the next issue, we will focus on expert witnesses and due process hearings.

In Observations from the Transom, our managing editor reflects on experts, ice cream, snow jobs, and saxaphone concerts.

If you are interested in submitting an article to The Beacon, we would like to hear from you. Please review our our Submissions Policy. We welcome your ideas about topics for future issues of this journal.

The Beacon seeks to ensure that all children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997, and that children with disabilities are free from discrimination. We believe the dialogue in this journal will help to shape the future.

Our goal is to publish useful, readable content. If you are interested in special education law and practice, we think you will enjoy The Beacon.

Theme: Expert Witnesses, Part 1

This issue of The Beacon includes articles by attorneys, an advocate, and a psychologist. You will learn about experts, evaluators, and evaluation teams, psycho-educational reports, and how experts can be used to design and monitor appropriate special education programs.

For a unique perspective on these issues, read Observations from the Transom
by managing editor Brice Palmer.

Feature Articles

Who is an expert? Why should parents use experts? How should parents choose experts? What are the key differences between educational benefit and therapeutic benefit? Between "appropriate" and "best"?

In Using an Expert as an Effective Resource, attorney-author Jennifer Bollero explains why parents should rely on advice from trained professionals to make informed decisions about educational interventions. You will learn
why medical experts should advise parents to seek the best medical and therapeutic treatments - and why a request for the "best" education from the school is fatal. Read article

Psychologists who testify at due process hearings are in a unique position to provide hearing officers with information about appropriate programs and placements. In Preparation of the Psycho-educational Report, psychologist Margeret Kay describes best-practice guidelines for writing psychoeducational evaluation reports.

Dr. Kay's article will help readers learn about observational data collection from parents and teachers, process assessment, cognitive assessment, achievement tests, tests of attention and executive function, tests of emotional and social status, personality tests, and how various tests should be interpreted. Read article

In Factors to Consider When Selecting an Evaluator, attorney Rosemary Palmer describes the comprehensive evaluation, advantages of multi-disciplinary evaluation teams, and the roles of members on the team. She explains why schools and private sector providers need a system to document services. Read article

What do you know about snowing juries and saxaphone concerts? For a different perspective on expert witnesses, read Observations from the Transom by Brice Palmer, our inimitable managing editor.


From the Editor

Future issues of The Beacon will focus on damages, class action litigation, and revisiting FAPE. We welcome articles by new contributors. If you have an idea or wish to contribute an article, please review our submissions policy.


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