Ohio Special Education Attorneys


If you feel that your child with special education needs is not receiving the services, programs and interventions they deserve, our Special Education attorneys can help. We understand the challenges the families we represent face and utilize our in-depth knowledge of school systems and administrations to help our clients in the Greater Cleveland area, Akron and Youngstown navigate protocols and obtain the appropriate outcomes.

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special education services

  • Developing IEP/504 Plans 
  • Addressing abuse in schools, including:
    – Bullying
    – Discrimination
    – Neglect 
  • Evaluations and Child Find Matters 
  • Fighting Disciplinary and Juvenile Court Matters, including:
    – Suspension and Expulsion
    – Search and Seizures
  • Mediation
  • Title IX Matters
Wheelchair symbol painted on the ground



Standing With You

Our special education lawyers assist clients in Ohio every step of the way – advising them on how to obtain an IEP or 504 plan, attending meetings with them, advocating on their behalf when litigation matters arise and representing them in other matters that children with special needs face in schools.

Addressing Tough Situations

Our suite of services is designed to help your family navigate a variety of difficult situations. Our special Education attorneys can help with:

  • Evaluating placements and team reports
  • Fighting abuse, neglect and discrimination in schools (including the ADA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act)
  • Due process hearings, juvenile court and other disciplinary issues impacting students
Susan Stone, Partner


Best Lawyers® 2022 Lawyer of the year Susan Stone

KJK would like to congratulate Student & Athlete Defense Co-Chair and Partner Susan Stone on being named Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in the Education category for 2022. Only one attorney receives the “Lawyer of the Year” distinction in each category and location, and the title is awarded to the lawyer that received the highest peer reviews in that category. Well done Susan!

Special Education


Thank you for helping me through a difficult time with my son

 Thank you for helping me through a difficult time with my son. He recently participated in graduation and will be finishing his degree requirements through an independent study. Your “talk” during our call a couple of weeks ago was valuable to him and to me. Thank you for sharing your life experiences and thoughtful words of advice. I am truly inspired by your perseverance and strength as a professional and a mother.

We feel so fortunate that we were able to connect with you

When we found out about [OUR SCHOOL DISTRICT’S] intent to expel [OUR SON] we were disappointed in the school district and we were terrified of what it meant for [OUR SON].  We feel so fortunate that we were able to connect with you.  On short notice you took the time to meet with us and gain a deep understanding of…his challenges.  You were able to see beyond [OUR SON’S] behavioral difficulties and see him as the bright, inquisitive boy that he is.

We were impressed with how easily you navigated the challenge of working with the staff… and the attorneys representing the district.  Without your representation there is no question that there would be unresolved issues related to [OUR SON’S] education and further legal hurdles to overcome with the school district.

Your Options




What’s the difference between a special education attorney and an advocate?

A special education advocate does not fulfill the same role for a student as a special education attorney might. Advocates in particular face certain limitations when collaborating with the parents of a disabled child.

Both advocates and attorneys can help the parents of a disabled student understand what amenities those students may have access to. They can look over a student’s IEP and 504 plan options to ensure that the student receives all of the necessary aid available to them. Advocates may also discuss a student’s misbehavior with parents but cannot recommend legal action.

Similarly, both of them can write letters to schools on behalf of a student’s parents, citing their familiarity with special education law, to ensure that a student receives all the academic assistance that they deserve.


Representation of Advocates and lawyers

Special education advocates cannot legally claim to practice law, and those who attempt to charge for their representation in due process hearings, impartial hearings, or academic environments may be charged with inappropriate legal practice. The ability of these individuals to speak on parents’ behalf in due process and impartial hearings varies from state to state.

However, special education advocates may consult with parents regarding IEP programs while charging for their services and can attend IEP meetings. At no point, however, can a special education advocate claim to represent their affiliates, nor can they speak for their affiliates in the midst of an IEP meeting.

Special education attorneys are not barred in this way. Parents working with a lawyer can rely on them not only for consultation but for representation in court and other related environments.



Fighting for You

School districts don’t always know what’s best for your child. The local special education attorneys at KJK have a history of successfully fighting for students with special education needs and are ready to fight for yours. 

Your Network of Advocates

KJK’s Special Education attorneys address our clients’ holistic needs by connecting them to therapists, college consultants and private specialists. We consult with a cohort of professionals to address the holistic needs of our clients.

Aiding K-12 Children with Autism

A child with autism has many rights while they are in school and an attorney could ensure each of these rights is protected. These rights primarily come from a federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Most states also have additional protections for autistic children in grade school. The rights laid out in IDEA consist of special education opportunities and early intervention. The law requires schools to evaluate children at an early age to determine whether they need additional services and support.

Every child is entitled to a free and appropriate public education – but an education that is appropriate for one child might not be appropriate for another with different needs. This means that, when necessary, the school must provide an educational plan tailored to a child’s special needs. Unfortunately, some schools, teachers, or administrators might push back against requests regarding accommodations for a child with autism. A special education lawyer can advocate for that child and ensure that they are treated fairly under the law.

Another way an attorney can help is by advocating for a child to learn in the least restrictive environment possible. In other words, a child has the right to be placed in a situation where they have the best chance to succeed. If they can participate in a specific activity along with the other children, the law requires that they have the opportunity to do so. Sometimes the best option for children with autism is to have a hybrid approach involving standard classroom education mixed with special instruction.


Skilled Guidance With IEP & Accommodations

One important way a special education lawyer could aid the family of a child with autism is through developing an Individualized Education Program, or IEP. An IEP offers children with autism a path toward obtaining a comprehensive education. The first step in this process is for a child to be evaluated by the school district for special needs. If the school determines that the child qualifies for these services, the next step will be to develop an IEP tailored to their learning style.


In many cases, accommodations are a necessary part of an IEP. Accommodations are changes to the standard way of assigning tasks in school to allow for a special needs child to complete them. For example, a child might need to take an altered form of a test or complete a slightly different assignment, allowing them a fair opportunity to succeed. These accommodations could provide the student with additional time or allow them to perform in a different setting. The ultimate goal is to ensure that a student has equal access to education no matter their disability.

An IEP is often about more than accommodations. It includes an array of documents and test results designed to help a student show what they are capable of. These plans can include a series of goals that span a number of years into the future. As a child’s goals change, the plan can change as well.

An advisor speaking with two people

Important to Know:

Special Education
Frequently Asked Questions

IEP Basics

What should I do if I suspect my child has a disability or learning difference and needs support from school?
If you suspect that your child has a disability, you must inform your school’s teacher of your suspicion (preferably in writing) and ask that the school conduct a psycho-educational evaluation.  This is a just a diagnostic tool to tease out what might be impacting your student’s ability to learn and grow.

We at KJK believe that parents know their child best. Thus, if you believe that your child has a disability, in all probability you are correct. Learning problems can manifest very differently depending upon a number of factors: such as age of child, personality, type of disability and educational environment.  It goes without saying that no two children are the same.

What is an IEP?
The information contained in the ETR becomes for your child’s Independent Education Program (“IEP”).  The IEP outlines how the school will address your child’s needs.  It should have goals, objectives and be specific in who, what and how much support will be given to your child.
What is an MFE or ETR?
An MFE is a multi-factored evaluation, which is the revised term for ETR or Evaluation Team Report. This is simply the diagnostic test that must be completed every three years to determine whether your child is eligible for special education and/or related services, make suggestions about how to meet your child’s needs, and provide the most updated information on your child to monitor progress.

Students with disabilities who receive services under a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA.  IDEA is a wonderful statute that has changed the learning landscape for students.  However, the terms in the statute can be quite daunting at first.  Many articles have rightfully referred to these terms as alphabet soup!

Each school has child find obligations under IDEA to determine if students have needs that should be evaluated and addressed. But, as stated above, don’t rely on a District to initiate the process.  If you suspect that your child should be tested, speak up! Studies show that the earlier an intervention takes place, the easier it is to level the learning playing field for a child!


What happens if the school refuses to conduct an ETR on my child?
If a school district declines to conduct an ETR, you will have the reasons explained to you in a written document called a Prior Written Notice (“PWN”).  It is important for parents to make sure they understand the information contained in the PWN.  The most common basis for this denial is that the school does not see that there is any evidence that your child has a disability and that he or she is doing fine!  We see that in situations where a child is getting what is considered good grades or performing at grade level. Other times, parents are told that students are just not listening to homework requests and that there should be more structure at home. When this happens, ask for an independent educational evaluation (IEE).
What is an IEE?
An IEE, or independent educational evaluation, is an evaluation that is conducted by an outside provider not employed by the District.  Remember – since the District pays for the IEE, it has the right to see the results at the same time as parents.  Sometimes, we consider obtaining a private evaluation and depending upon the results, we make the decision as to whether we want to share the test results with the District.
What resources can I turn to for help understanding IDEA?
If you are in Ohio, the Ohio Department of Education (“ODE”)  has a lot of resources on its website.  If fact, the ODE posts a video series on special education basic and a guide to parents’ rights in Special Education that has been translated into eleven languages.

Your Rights

Can I request an IEP team meeting if I believe my child's needs are not being met or my child's disability has changed?
Yes, you can and you should request an IEP team meeting if you have any concerns.  The IEP team will meet on an annual basis but if parents have issues to discuss, parents should request a meeting.  There is no limit on the amount of times that parents can request an IEP meeting.  Keep in mind that it might take a few weeks to get a team assembled.
Do I need an attorney to make an IEP? How can an attorney help me and/or my child?
You do not need an attorney to make an IEP.  However, a special ed lawyer can really help parents communicate with school districts and advocate to make sure that the child’s needs are being met in the IEP. Also, when Districts do not deliver services, attorneys are useful in ensuring that providers stay on task. When all else fails, and parents find that they are at impasse with a school district, attorneys can file a due process complaint with the state department of education and ask that a hearing officer require the district to provide FAPE to a student.

Attorneys can help with each step in the process, including attending IEP meetings.

If I disagree with the school’s evaluation, what can I do?
Districts will provide an ETR is it suspects that there is a disability.  However, parents might disagree with the results of the ETR. If you disagree with the school’s evaluation of your child, and it does happen, you can request that the district pay for an IEE.   While the district does not have to follow the evaluation, it does have to consider the results of that evaluation.
My child has really struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. What are my rights?
We know that students with disabilities have been affected quite a bit during the pandemic.  Certain services are just not the same when delivered over zoom.  Just remember, no matter what is happening, students have the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) even during the pandemic.  The school must try to follow the IEP. Parents should request a special meeting to discuss how the IEP is going to be delivered if districts choose to use technology rather than return to the school building. Most Districts will try to deliver various services online.  Sometimes this works and other times, the delivery of services is a miserable failure for everyone involved in the situations. Other times, Districts are arranging for various services like occupational or physical therapy to be delivered in small groups. If this is not possible, schools will have to make-up these services as part of its obligation to provide compensatory education.
Can the school discipline my student with a disability if he or she breaks a rule?
Your special education student can be disciplined for breaking a school rule or policy just like any other student. However, there are procedural hurdles that must be accomplished before a suspension longer than 10 days or an expulsion can be imposed to be sure that the behavior was not a result of the disability.  To make this assessment, the school district will conduct a manifestation determination review meeting.  This hearing must happen before ten days after the date on which the decision was made to recommend expulsion. If the schools holds a hearing and still wants to expel your child and you disagree with that decision, you can file an expedited due process hearing to contest that decision.  Student discipline can be fraught with a lot of turmoil and emotion, so it’s best to seek guidance as early as possible in student discipline situations.

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