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OVCAC, Disability Rights Iowa partner to host public special education seminars

Disability Rights Iowa and Opportunity Village Children’s Autism Center are teaming up to offer the public two free seminars focusing on special education law and guardianship and substitute decision-making.

The first seminar is scheduled Oct. 20 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and focuses on special education law. It will be led by presenters Nathan Kirstein, J.D., staff attorney with Disability Rights Iowa, and Beth Rydberg, senior advocate with Disability Rights Iowa. Presentation topics include individualized education program (IEP) components, discipline, restraint and seclusion, and bullying and harassment of students with disabilities.

Presenters also will discuss the rights children have when they are eligible for special education, as well descriptions of acronyms and terms commonly used in IEPs; when a student with a disability can be disciplined and the procedural safeguards regarding change in placements; restraint and seclusion under Iowa regulations; and reporting bullying and harassment and how bullying can lead to a denial of a free and appropriate public education.

A second seminar is scheduled Oct. 27 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and focuses on guardianship and substitute decision-making. The presentation will be led by Scott Lyon, J.D., adult and investigations staff attorney with Disability Rights Iowa.

Presentation topics include the rights of individuals under guardianship law in Iowa (authority and responsibility of guardians, due process and procedural rights of the ward), specific issues in restrictive decision making (food/diet, relationships/sexuality, medication), and what to do if the ward’s rights are violated, among other topics.

Both presentations will be held in the Severtson Forum at the Kinney-Lindstrom Center, located on Opportunity Village’s Clear Lake campus, 1200 N. 9th St. W. in Clear Lake. Each presentation also will include a question-and-answer session.