Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions, which I’ll keep updating as clients and others ask more questions.

I’m still writing new high-quality content for these FAQs, so bear with and let me know if you’d like some answers sooner than others!

  1. IDEA

  2. IEPs

  3. Child’s team members

  4. Working with me


What is IDEA?

What right does my child have?

What does appropriate mean?

What does due process mean?

What if the school misses a deadline?

Could I really have to pay the school’s lawyers?

  • See this post for some details and an example.


What is an IEP?

Where does the IEP come from?

How long does all this take?

When does the school need my consent?

What if I don’t respond?

How do I know what my child needs? Is this placement right for my child?

Child evaluations & team

When does my child need an independent evaluation?

Who are the people who might be involved with my child?

Can you recommend a …?

What is a behaviorist?

What does the teacher or therapist do?

What does a physical therapist do?

What does an occupational therapist do?

What does a speech therapist do?

What does a developmental pediatrician do?

What does a neurologist do?

What does an educational consultant do?

What does a non-lawyer advocate do?

What does a lawyer do?

Who is the child study team?

Working with Rick

What services do you provide?

Do you provide a free initial consultation?

Can I have a limited representation?

A limited representation is when we work with you but only on one aspect of your case. This approach is very helpful for parents that are either doing much of the advocacy work themselves, seeking to control costs, need a second opinion, or want some immediate advice, usually in response to some action by a district.

What information do you need from me?

What are your fees?

Our fees are generally hourly, with a limited initial consultation discount. We have special programs for parents in certain areas of New Jersey, and we strive to make different arrangements when and if your case reaches the due process stage.

Do you provide fixed-fee consultations? Do you provide telephone consultations?

Because of my national legal experience in other matters, I am familiar with clients wanting to work with a particular person in spite of the need for long distance communication. I have therefore developed a fixed-fee telephone consultation particularly well-suited for out-of-state clients or those who have prepared their files and have specific issues they want to discuss.

Doesn’t the school have to pay my attorney fees?

Can I see your engagement letter?

What other forms might I need?

How much will all this cost?

This is the hardest question for lawyers to answer. The short answer is that it depends on your precise circumstances, which no one will know enough about until after we talk and I can review the records and perhaps even do some investigation. Here are some of the issues that make it difficult, at best, to provide good estimates in advance:

  • There are facts that you know that you don’t know are important.
  • The other side knows facts that you don’t know about.
  • The law can change.
  • The other side can become obstinate during the process for any number of reasons and make things harder, which makes them take longer, which raises your costs.
  • You can decide to pursue more arguments or more issues than is optimal.
  • Parents can sometimes disagree with each other, which makes the entire process much more difficult.

There are a few well-worn paths to reducing overall costs: first, parents can do some of the work themselves, such as record requests and organization; second, parents can decide early on what their limit is, in terms of placements, delay, expense, and alternatives; third, parents can focus on moving things along quickly, which means doing preparation up front so that everyone is prepared for a meeting, negotiation, or hearing.

Have a question I didn’t answer? Please send it to me via twitter (@rickcolosimo) or email.

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