The “Dream” Program

Published on May 29, 2010 by Jennifer Laviano


So, I already have a page of Ridiculous Comments made by school district personnel, and their lawyers.  But lately, I’ve decided that my clients have some doozies also…so I’ve created this page:   Truly Funny, Sad, Insightful, or Outrageous Quotes From Parents.

My clients inspire me.  They really do.  I can not imagine how they manage to simultaneously care for their child’s (or sometimes children’s) special needs AND take on their school districts in a legal battle.  In addition to inspiring me, they also inform me, surprise me, and yes, frustrate me.  This is all part of being a Parents’ special education attorney.

As I often do on my blog, I will modify some of the information on this page when it’s necessary to protect the identity or interests of the child or parents.  Not all of these quotes will necessarily put the parents in the best light; however, when that’s the case, I hope to provide information as to how the situation could be rectified.

Many of these statements are ones that have stayed with me for years.  Some are very new comments I’ve heard from parents.  These quotes are from clients, prospective clients, and parents of children with disabilities I meet in Connecticut and throughout the country whom I will never represent.  I hope you will find them as interesting as I have…and if you have a great one to share, please email me or post a comment!


The Dream Program

Whenever I am trying to assess whether I want to take on a case in my Connecticut special education law practice, I conduct what I call an “intake interview” of the parent or guardian.  In that interview, I have a number of standard questions I ask…and one of them is this:  “what program is the school district offering?”

This question is usually posed after I’ve already heard the background of whatever dispute has led the parents to call me, after I’ve been privy to a detailed description of how and why the child with disabilities is struggling.  By this point in the discussion, I’ve already heard the parents explain how the student needs more, isn’t learning, is falling apart, and how the parents and many other people are recommending something very specific to intervene.

I’ve been doing this a long time, and sadly, it takes a lot to surprise me.  And while I am one of those people who can find humor in almost anything, there are really few people who can make me laugh out loud.  So you can imagine my delight one day, when I asked a mother the standard question “what program is the school district offering?”, and this was her reply:

“It’s this really great, imaginary program.”

I laughed out loud!  I am still laughing!  And if you’re the parent of a child with disabilities who has been on the receiving end of such proposed imaginary programs, you’re laughing too!


Really.  Enough said.

3 Responses to The “Dream” Program

  1. Rochelle
    May 29th, 2010 | 2:28 am

    My girls have been receiving such a program for years … even managed to get some graduation credits from it. And, there’s even documenation, no student/parent notification or participation, where staff got together and decided the girls would receive credits for just being given the work. They actually documented this!

    Feel free to use my line about IEP meetings, in such a situation, being like a school/district asking someone who is allegic to bee stings to go to meetings in a beehive.

  2. Rochelle
    May 29th, 2010 | 1:26 pm

    An eclectic one … they make it up as they go along.

    Seriously, someone mentioned in ‘Utah Challenge’ was at meetings endorsing that for my daughters. How is an autistic student supposed to benefit from constant change and undefined methodology?

  3. sld
    May 30th, 2010 | 8:00 am

    illusory IEP
    and as soon as they were off the hook, no more fake grades so, first quarter he was failing or near failing all core subjects. we ended up homeless and then in a new district where i prevailed pro se on 1704 and 1738 but he is 19 now, on social security, in federal court of appeals,

    badly in need of an attorney

    [they would not let him apply for vo-tech, when the pa law states that all students are to have access to voc. ed. in our commonwealth].