Mental Health Services

School Districts are required to pay attention to all students and that includes those with possible mental health needs. Instead of compassion often these students are ignored or they lash out w/ behaviors that causes them to be suspended or expelled.  Guess what, under the law, these students are entitled to assessments to determine if they need mental health services so they can access their education.  press on the link below to see the latest information on this issue.


Jack of the Red Hearts – movie

My client, Janet Grillo, has made another wonderful movie that addresses living with a child on the autism spectrum disorder. As a fellow Mom w/ a son diagnosed w/ ASD, i can relate to many of the experiences portrayed in this film.  You’ll have a chance to see it on Saturday, April 23rd on the Lifetime Channel.  Tune in or record it to watch later. Just don’t miss it.

Governor Brown

Immigration is a big issue in California.  We have a compassionate governor who recognizes that these people have rights. Once the children are registered for and attend California’s public school they often need the support of the IDEA to provide them assessments and educational support. Many of these families are afraid of asking for assessments for their children as they want to not stand out.  If they do ask for assessments the parents are reluctant to question what the school IEP teams are saying to them.  A2Z Educational Advocates has their information in both Spanish and English.  We want to make sure these children get served.

Sibling singing to Twin w/ autism

I have the pleasure of representing family in their fight to get services for Paul.  Mom sent me this link.  Paul’s sister speaks on her feelings for her twin brother and then plays and sings a beautiful song. Her message is to focus on the abilities of each person and be loving and supportive. click on link to hear Dana.

The Dark Horse

I saw this movie last night.  It was so great and inspiring, and based on true facts. THE DARK HORSE is based on the true story of Genesis ‘Gen’ Potini (Cliff Curtis), a Maori speed-chess champion seeking redemption and a new purpose in life despite his struggles with bipolar disorder.

It’s raw and real and worth the price of a ticket. Here in Los Angeles it’s playing at the Laemle’s Royal Theater in West Los Angeles.  Unfortunately, you won’t have to fight the lines.  It’s not as crowded as it should be.  There are no special effects just real human interest.

Ed. Dept. Proposes Standardization Of Special Ed Reporting To Flag Racial Bias

The Obama administration proposes standardized reporting of special education. The White House seeks to end racial bias in school districts.

Source: Ed. Dept. Proposes Standardization Of Special Ed Reporting To Flag Racial Bias

Racial bias in education is a huge problem.  Those of us working “in the trenches” know this to be true whether or not we have seen the “data” to back it up.  We know it from the times we have walked into schools that are predominantly minority and witnessed firsthand the lack of information parents are provided about their rights – a stark contrast from what we see in schools that are predominantly white.  We know it from the cases we have where assumptions are made about a child’s abilities or expectations for the future simply because of that child’s race.  We know it from the situations where we see the school-to-prison pipeline try to swallow up another African American child right before our eyes.  We know it from our colleagues who are providing services to students, from other advocates and attorneys, from parents and from students themselves. Read more

Views of Autism from the Inside

I saw this video through Huffington Post.  It shows different opinions on Autism from people who are currently living with it.  My son has autism. It seemed like a punishment when he was diagnosed.  18 years later I see how it was a reward. Listen to these other families. If you’re just beginning this journey don’t feel victimized, feel empowered. You’ve been invited into a very exciting and yes challenging world. But you wouldn’t have received this invitation unless you were qualified.

Racial Concerns And Teacher Shortages In Special Education

special education

The attorneys and advocates of A2Z Educational Advocates had the opportunity to hear Hasan Davis deliver the Opening Keynote address at the 2016 COPAA Conference in Philadelphia on March 11, 2015.  Hasan shared his own story about the special education system, his time as a juvenile deliquent and how he went on to earn his GED, college degree and his law degree.  Hasan shared some startling statistics with the over 600 participants at the Conference, including that an estimated 70% of justice-involved youth have disabilities, including psychiatric, mental health, sensory, and intellectual disabilities as well as co-occurring disorders. [1] Hasan shared his own story of being a student in the special education system and how he was often told what he could not do by adults along the way.  He also shared how his mother and other educators, however, told him he could be anything he wanted to be and how that gave him hope to keep going.  Hasan shared his powerful journey of being a high school dropout to earning his GED and moving on to college, where he was expelled twice but eventually earned his degree.  Hasan then moved on to law school where he had to advocate for himself in order to be given the accommodations he needed to thrive in that setting.  Hasan’s journey from juvenile delinquent to Juris Doctor was empowering and uplifting and proof that great things can happen when adults are “hope dealers” for children instead of “hope stealers.”



[1] National Disability Rights Network


Shifting Focus

The shifting focus of ADD reminds me of the shifting sands on the beach—in constant motion. At last year’s ADDA conference, John Ratey, M.D. said the inability of people with ADD to maintain focus is a key factor in their not improving, even after getting medicine. At least that is what I thought he said!
For me the concept of not being able to stick with something long enough really struck home. I think we sometimes shift focus because we have lost interest in what we are doing, and our focus gets attracted to something more interesting. However, other times, I think we are interested and committed to what we are doing—get called away to do something else—and then just forget to return to what we were earlier so focused on and committed to.
This problem of forgetting and losing focus comes graphically to mind when I recall setting up a behavioral medication program for two of my children. This was years ago. We were in family therapy, trying to improve the behavior of our two, undiagnosed, children with ADHD who had a mother (me) with undiagnosed ADD. Under the therapist’s guidance, I had established a wonderful behavior modification program that worked wonderfully for the first three weeks. When we returned to the therapist on the fourth week, he asked how the program was going. At first, I didn’t know what he was taking about!—and then I recalled the program. I had no idea why we weren’t doing it any more. One day I woke up and forgot the program—and then I forgot it forever after.
I have heard it said that it takes 30 days of practice to acquire a new behavior—and that for those with ADD—it can take 60! What can you do to maintain your focus on acquiring the new habits and behaviors you wish to have? I suggest that before trying to acquire a new habit, you first figure out how you are going to stay focused on the habit for the next 60 days.
Best wishes—and here’s to your success.
~~~~Cynthia Hammer, MSW, Director, ADD Resources


ADD & ADHD in Children

ADD & ADHD in Children and how to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of ADD / ADHD

It’s normal for your child to occasionally forget their school work, daydream during math class, act silly without thinking, or get fidgety at the a restaurant. But inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are also the warning signs or symptoms of ADD or ADHD.

ADD / ADHD can lead to difficulties at home and school, and may affect your child’s ability to learn and socialize properly with others. So it’s important to know what the signs and symptoms are and get help if you recognize them in your family.

For help with services for a child with ADD or ADHD please contact our Special Education Law Firm

Call 888-433-2232 now for help!

We all know children who have difficulties sitting still, who rarely seem to listen, who don’t easily follow instructions no matter how clearly you present them, and whom blurt out inappropriate words at inappropriate times. Sometimes these kids are labeled as troublemakers, or criticized for being lazy and undisciplined. However, it is possible they may have ADHD.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that sometimes appears in early childhood. Also known as attention deficit disorder, or ADD. ADD / ADHD makes it difficult for people to inhibit or control their spontaneous responses – everything from movement to speech and attentiveness. The signs and symptoms of ADD / ADHD often appear before the age of 7. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between ADHD and normal children’s behavior. If you spot just a few signs, or the symptoms appear infrequently, it’s probably not ADD / ADHD. On the other hand, if your child shows a number of disruptive ADD / ADHD signs and symptoms that are present across all the time take a closer look.
Our goal is not only to provide parents with representation, but also to empower parents, and ultimately the child, to become better advocates themselves.

A2Z Southern California Special Education Attorney – we now have cases searchable by disability including ADHD


Recent ADD Cases

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