Special Education Advocacy Credential

special education advocacy student

The Special Education Advocacy Credential prepares participants to be effective special education advocates on behalf of public school children – covering all requisite education law, disability needs, and legal standards. 

Printable version of credential checklist

ENGL 100    Academic Writing I
3 credits

PARA 101   Introduction to Paralegalism
3 credits

PARA 130   Legal Research and Drafting
3 credits

PARA 206   Special Education Law & Advocacy
3 credits

Academic Writing I

This is the first of a two-course sequence of academic writing. Students learn how to write a variety of essays, usually in response to readings. They review grammar and basic writing skills, learn an effective writing process, begin to engage and respond to academic texts, and are introduced to research and documentation of sources appropriate for introductory-level college essays. Special sections may center on a theme.

Introduction to Paralegalism

An examination of the role of paralegals in the legal system, with a particular emphasis on the New York state court system. Topics studied include an overview of the court system and administrative agencies, legal terminology, law office management, and ethical and professional practice standards.

Legal Research & Drafting

Students develop an understanding of legal research and legal writing. Topics include statutes, case law, drafting and writing process, types of documents, and types and use of research tools, including online legal research, the Internet, and CD-ROM products. In particular, the student gains familiarity with a law library and researching a topic from general topic to specific case. Although this course is intended to be a general course, the primary focus is on New York and federal law. However, after successful completion of the course, students have the tools necessary for legal research of all types, in any jurisdiction.

Special Education Law and Advocacy

This is a paralegal elective course that will give students a background in education law with a focus on special education advocacy on behalf of public school children. Special education advocacy requires extensive knowledge of education law, disability needs, and the legal standards that apply. Participants will be introduced to the history of special education law, develop an understanding of key concepts of special education expressed in case law, understand educational evaluations, develop an understanding of the business of special education law, and learn the ethics of advocating for students with disabilities.

The history of special education law is rooted in Brown v. Board of Education and is traced through legislative and judicial history to include the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, the IDEA, the IDEIA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the related other acts, such as No Child Left Behind and the Every Student Succeeds Act. This course will focus on the substance and procedural aspects of federal and state education laws, rules and regulations for a law office paralegal as well as for a lay advocate. Topics will include pragmatic concerns such as dealing with children, parents, and school administrators.