Saturday Post-Conference Workshop

Surviving Manifestation Determination without a Change in Placement: From the IEP Team Process through the Manifestation Determination Review

Saturday, December 1, 2012
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Manifestation Determination is a process used when a student receiving special education services is considered for suspension, expulsion, or alternative placement due to behavioral concerns. It determines whether the conduct was manifested due to the child’s disability and/or the school’s failure to implement the IEP. Some schools blame the student for problem behavior, resulting in inadequate or denied special education services. Students with disabilities, especially students of color, are disproportionally put at risk of being channeled out of the classroom and into the “school to prison pipeline.” Through the Manifestation Determination, well-informed parents and advocates can protect a student’s education rights.

The goal of this workshop is to take participants on a step by step analysis of those procedural safeguards that were intended to ensure that students with disabilities, including students with behavioral needs, receive the supports and services that ensure them an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. The workshop will explore the theoretical and the practical aspects of the procedural safeguards, allowing the participants to practice the skills that they acquire with some hands on exercises.

Resources from the workshop will include websites for additional information, letters formatted for requesting necessary supports and services for their use, legal guidelines taken from the IDEA and its supporting regulations, guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Education for their use and support, case law that will support their arguments for additional supports and services to ensure that the student receives an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment.


Participants will leave the workshop with the following skills to advocate successfully for students with behaviors that interfere with learning:

• An understanding of the IEP Team process and the skills to advocate successfully on student’s behalf as a member of the Team;
• An understanding of the evaluation process and the need to assess student in all areas of suspected disability to ensure that the needs are identified and incorporated into the IEP;
• A process for ensuring that all suspensions and forced removals from school are clear, specific and properly documented;
• An understanding of factors to consider when developing behavior support plans and/or behavior intervention plans;
• An understanding of positive behavior approaches as tools to address the needs of students with behaviors that interfere with learning;
• An understanding of the functional analysis assessment and the role of students, parents and community in the assessment process;
• The skills to advocate on behalf of a student during the manifestation determination review;
• Skills to avoid the suspension and expulsion of students with behaviors that interfere with learning.
• The need for and proper use of documentation throughout the Team process, including in the manifestation determination review.


Barbara Ransom
Barbara Ransom has more than 20 years of experience as a plaintiff’s attorney practicing in the area of disability rights and representing individuals, classes and advocacy organizations in litigation filed pursuant to the U.S. Constitution, Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and various state constitutions and civil rights provisions. Barbara was initiated to the practice of law at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (Pilcop) where she developed the skills that took her from a law intern to an attorney admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. Barbara also served as Senior Attorney for Disability Rights CA. Her advocacy has involved claims arising out of the deprivation of an appropriate education, community integration, work opportunities, public accommodations, and public services with the goal of ensuring that persons with disabilities are integral, functioning members of our society entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”