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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

A Seven Letter Word To Avoid

We readily throw around the word “appropriate.” It really is the perfect word. You can talk about a free, appropriate public education. Or appropriate behavior. There are any number of occasions when you can call something or someone “appropriate.” Not so the word “maximum.” Never promise a “maximum” benefit, or “maximum” educational opportunities, “maximum” progress, or “maximum” anything. The only time you should use the word “maximum” is on the Least Restrictive Environment page of the IEP. Double-check your IEPs before they are finalized and remove this word from goals and objectives. This is because you can never reach the pinnacle of “maximum.” Something could have always been done better. The student should have made more progress in order to achieve a maximum benefit. The school system could have provided more opportunities so the student could have maximum educational opportunities. And so on. The word “maximum” is a legal trap and you need to avoid getting caught. And if you get a chance to give input on Board policies and regulations, recommend that the word “maximum” be removed from those documents, too.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
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