Women’s Bar CLE invites Skyer and Associates to present on special education law

May 9, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association hosted a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar in Brooklyn Heights on Thursday night where members of the Law Offices of Regina Skyer and Associates presented on Special Education Law.

The CLE was titled, “Special Education Law in Theory and in Practice in New York: A Primer on the Law and How to Help Your Clients Access Services for Their Children.”

The speakers included Regina Skyer, Linda Goldman, Greg Cangiano and Kerry McGrath. They discussed the history of IDEA, how to refer a child, the process involved, what IEP is, and they explained a due process impartial hearing.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures free appropriate public education for over 7.5 million eligible children with disabilities across the U.S. It governs early intervention, special education, and related services for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. IDEA Part C covers infants and toddlers up to age 2, while Part B covers ages 3-21.

The act also authorizes formula grants and discretionary grants for research, demonstrations, and support. IDEA aims to improve educational outcomes and protect the rights of children with disabilities and their parents.

Since 1975, access to public education for children with disabilities has vastly improved, with 66% of these children now in general education classrooms for 80% or more of their school day.

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a crucial document for children with disabilities, outlining a tailored education plan. It is developed through collaboration between parents, teachers, and school staff, and is guided by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The IEP process has 10 steps: identifying a child possibly needing special education, evaluation, deciding eligibility, finding the child eligible for services, scheduling an IEP meeting, holding the meeting and writing the IEP, providing services, measuring and reporting progress, reviewing the IEP, and reevaluating the child.

The IEP must include information about the child’s current performance, annual goals, special education and related services, participation with nondisabled children, participation in state and district-wide tests, service dates and locations, transition service needs, needed transition services, age of majority rights, and progress measurement. Each IEP is unique, designed to meet each child’s specific needs.

Regina Skyer, founder and partner of Skyer Law, is a leading special education lawyer in New York State, known for her work with special needs children and their families. With a 15-year background as a social worker and special education administrator, Regina published her essential resource for parents, “How to Survive Turning 5,” and has served on the boards of private schools and charitable organizations.

Regina Skyer opened the CLE with an explanation of the history of education law, including the unfortunate fact that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee education as a fundamental right following San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez.

Linda Goldman is a seasoned appellate litigator with a 30-year career in advocating for her clients’ rights, and she has co-authored numerous publications on complex litigation. As an adjunct professor at New York Law School, she shares her expertise with aspiring lawyers, while also being a past president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association and former member of Community Board 6 in Manhattan.

Greg Cangiano, partner at Skyer Law, has been an attorney with the firm since 2006, inspired by his mother’s work with special needs children. His extensive litigation experience in special education law is complemented by his passion for empowering parents and educators in the IEP process, and he previously served as an adjunct professor at Bank Street College of Education.

Kerry McGrath, an attorney focused on advocating for children with disabilities, was a former teacher in New York City public schools through the NYC Teaching Fellows program

Graduating from New York Law School in 2012, she has dedicated her practice to representing students with disabilities in NYC and its surrounding suburban school districts, and is admitted to practice in New York, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

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