Special Needs Schools: Demystifying the Application Process
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As a parent, you know your child best, and you know when something isn't right. What to do when your child isn't meeting normal developmental milestones or is struggling in a school setting? It can feel overwhelming, but an action plan can help minimize stress and demystify the special education process. This panel will explain your legal and placement options, and share strategies on how to find the best program for your children.
Join us for a special webinar with our panel of Education Attorneys and Clinical Neuropsychologists. The panel will be moderated by Parents League Special Needs Advisor, Chantal Aflalo. Bring your questions and we’ll provide guidance and information to help you launch your child on the path to success. This panel marks the beginning of our five-day Special Needs School Virtual Fair running Monday through Friday, January 30 through February 3, 2023.
Gregory Cangiano, Skyer Law, Partner
Gregory was inspired to pursue special education law because of his mother, a guidance counselor whose life’s calling was working with special needs children. Greg earned his bachelor’s degree at SUNY Binghamton and graduated with honors from Touro Law School in 2006. During his undergraduate and law school years, he interned part-time at Skyer Law. As a law student, he also did pro bono work with the Long Island Advocacy Center, an organization dedicated to protecting the legal rights of students and individuals with disabilities. Greg is a partner at Skyer Law, and has been an attorney with the firm since 2006. He regularly participates in IEP review meetings with clients throughout New York City, Nassau, and Westchester. He has extensive litigation experience in all areas of special education law, including in appeals to the Federal District Court. Greg is passionate about empowering parents and educators in the IEP process. From 2008-2012 he served as an adjunct professor at Bank Street College of Education teaching a graduate course, Communication and Collaboration: What the Law Intended. He designed this course to explore how the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) demands school districts to work cooperatively in the development and implementation of IEPs. Greg lives on Long Island with his wife, a kindred spirit who teaches special education, and his two beautiful children. In 2017 he launched the INA Fund, an organization in memory of his mother that is dedicated to supporting students with special education needs.
Sonia Mendez-Castro, Skyer Law, Partner
Sonia’s interest in special education law was a natural outgrowth of her work on civil rights issues, which began in college collaborating with NYC politicians on addressing the large influx of non-English proficient students unable to access educational services. She continued to develop her interest in legal issues relating to education by volunteering for advocacy organizations that work with teens experiencing social isolation due to their HIV status, pregnancy, or gender identity. Sonia graduated from St. John’s University Law School in 1993 and immediately went to work at Advocates for Children, the preeminent organization advocating for and serving students from low-income backgrounds who are experiencing discrimination or struggling in school. At AFC, Sonia worked with a team of attorneys and lay advocates seeking appropriate educational services for students with disabilities who would otherwise go without representation. During her tenure Sonia rose to Supervising Attorney; she trained law students and new attorneys, testified at public hearings, presented educational workshops to community-based organizations, and coordinated a nationwide project known as Mobilization for Equity and Excellence in Education. After starting her family, Sonia transitioned into private practice. She worked at another special education law firm for two years, served her own private clients, and consulted on appeals to higher courts. Sonia joined the Law Offices of Regina Skyer & Associates in 2002, representing clients at impartial hearings and appeals.
Sonia lives in Long Island with her husband and three daughters. She remains passionate about mentoring law students and new attorneys with an interest in special education law.
Peter Pramataris, PsyD, Pramataris & Associates
Dr. Pramataris is the founder & director of Pramataris & Associates. For well over a decade, Dr. Pramataris served as the director of the Center for Attention and Learning at Northwell Health/Lenox Hill Hospital, where he headed the neuropsychological assessment and consultation services. He continues to instruct post-doctoral residents for Lenox Hill Hospital's department of psychiatry, who awarded him for excellence in teaching. Dr. Pramataris advises on several boards, including the New York Neuropsychology Group, the Lang School, and AbleTo, a national-scale behavioral health company that he co-founded in 2008. Dr. Pramataris completed clinical training at NYU Medical Center, St. Mary's Hospital for Children, and Lenox Hill Hospital. He received a combined doctorate in school psychology and child clinical psychology from Yeshiva University.