Trusted New Jersey Attorneys Serving Special Needs Children 

Special education for children is our statewide practice focus

In New Jersey, every child who has a disability and meets legal criteria, or who has a disability that adversely impacts his/her education, is entitled to a free and appropriate public education. This means that school districts must offer special needs children access to a full range of educational settings. These range from regular public school classrooms that offer some support services to residential schools that provide for full-time education and monitoring of a special needs child. No matter what disability your child has, our special needs education law attorneys at Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler can help.

Experienced and insightful assistance for special needs children

Parents of special needs children should be fully informed of their child’s rights and responsibilities so they can take part in developing appropriate strategies for educational planning. Both federal and New Jersey law provide for specific rights and procedural protections for children with disabilities and their families. These protections include programs and support for:

Autism spectrum disorders and Asperger’s syndrome
Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Auditory processing disorder
Behavioral disorders
Cognitive impairment
Developmental delays
Emotional Regulation Impairment
Hearing impairment
Orthopedic impairment
Sensory integration dysfunction
Specific learning disabilities
Speech and language impairment
Traumatic brain injury
Visual impairment

Special Education FAQ

What is special education?

Special education is designed to address distinct problems in teaching and learning. It empowers students to overcome or compensate for disabilities that hinder learning, through individualized, intensive, and purposeful instruction that may include:

  • Preventive intervention – Averting potential or minor learning deficiencies
  • Remedial intervention – Instruction aimed at eliminating the effect of a disability on learning
  • Compensatory intervention – Using various methods to compensate for a disability
Which students are eligible for special education?

In New Jersey, children aged 3 to 21 who need special education and related services due to a disability are eligible. Special education supports those who are:

  • Autistic
  • Cognitively impaired
  • Auditorily impaired
  • Communication impaired
  • Visually impaired
  • Emotional Regulation Impaired
  • Orthopedically impaired
  • Preschool children with disabilities

It also supports children with:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Other health impairments
  • Specific learning disabilities
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Social maladjustment


What is an IEP?

This term is an acronym for individualized education programs (or plans, depending on the school district). The IEP is a legally binding contract of services provided by a school district for students classified with a disability.

While different school districts vary the IEP in format and structure, each IEP must by law contain certain components:

  1. A statement of the student’s present levels of educational performance
  2. A statement of annual goals, including short-term objectives
  3. A statement of special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services provided for the student
  4. A statement indicating modifications in the administration of state or district-wide assessments of achievement (or a statement indicating that the student will not participate in such assessments)
  5. A statement documenting the projected date for the commencement of services and the frequency, location and duration of those services
  6. A statement explaining the criteria used to assess a student’s progress towards his/her annual goals and the means to be used in informing the parent/guardian of this progress
  7. If necessary, a statement explaining the extent to which the student will not participate with non-disabled students in the general education classroom and/or other activities
  8. For each student age 14 or older, a statement of transition needs and/or services
What is free appropriate public education (FAPE)?
Free appropriate public education, or FAPE, is the standard outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). By law, FAPE refers to special education and related services that have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge. These must meet the standards of the state education agency; include an appropriate preschool, elementary or secondary school education in the state involved; and be provided in conformity with the student’s IEP.
What is a section 504 plan?

A Section 504 plan is a legally binding education plan created under the authority of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is not an IEP; instead, a Section 504 plan creates modifications and accommodations for special needs students who are attending general education classes. The student requesting a Section 504 plan must exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • A record of such a physical or mental impairment
  • Be perceived as having such a physical or mental impairment

Even though a student may not qualify for special education services under IDEA, he or she may still qualify for a Section 504 plan.

What is due process?

Due process is a legal principle outlined in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution: be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” In reference to special education, the deprivation of liberty takes one of two forms: A parent may disagree with the school’s procedures or decisions regarding a child’s identification, evaluation, program or educational placement, or a school may disagree with a parent’s refusal to grant consent for a child’s evaluation or classification. If such disagreement occurs, either the parent(s) or school may then proceed through several dispute resolution steps ranging from mediation to lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey or the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Help for children with special needs is just a phone call away

For more than 40 years, Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler has helped parents of special needs children manage issues from behavioral disorders to diabetes. If you need assistance, contact us today to discuss your child’s special education needs. We would be happy to answer your questions over the phone at 609.409.3500 or see you for an initial consultation in the comfort of our office, designed to put you and your child at ease.

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