Todd has been practicing law for over ten years. That decade has seen a shift in the kinds of legal work he has done from criminal defense to a legal practice focusing on the changing needs of families. Since 2008, his focus has primarily been on advocating for the parents of special needs children. From his experiences with his own child and the hundreds of anecdotes he has encountered over the past five years have taught him that many find it difficult to obtain both the educational opportunities and special support their child needs to thrive academically and personally.
To assure that brings the level of professionalism and expertise that these parents deserve, Todd has often teamed with New York attorney and author Andrew Cuddy.
Cuddy writes that "If parents of a special needs child encounter difficulties with a school district, they may need to participate in a due process hearing between themselves and administrators from the school district in order to ensure that their child is receiving the education and attention that he or she deserves." Todd has seen that due process hearings can be an effective but heretofore perhaps underutilized tool. Yet, he also recognizes it is neither the only tool available nor the only appropriate one.
To that end, Todd also works with a number of lay advocates — those who are able to advocate on behalf of the parents and the child, but who do not have a formal law education. Often these advocate may themselves be the parent of a special needs child, and would be able to address those unique needs very well.
When selecting a Special Education attorney (or any attorney really) consider their training and background, their previous experience with due process hearings, and whether or not they focus on hearings or pre-hearing matters. It is important for attorneys, health care providers and parents alike to remember that under the present state of the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education
Improvement Act ("IDEIA") (20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et seq. See also, 34 C.F.R. §§ 300. et seq), as well as Ohio Law, attorney fees are not recoverable (if at all), for work done before the filing of a due process complaint. Thus, insofar as the parent’s resources are concerned, a lay advocate may be the most economic choice during IEP development and implementation.
One may contact Attorney Kotler for a consultation at 330-777-0065.