Not A Legal Advocate
Let this notice serve that I David P. Osterhout, LCSW, BCD
am not a “Legal Advocate”. I am
not trained in the field of law, nor am I an attorney licensed
law. I do not represent clients as their legal advisor in due
process proceedings or any meetings with a school district.
I do not have the ability to protect anyone’s legal rights.
My 33-year career has been exclusively dedicated to the field
of mental health. My private practice of the last 27 years
has been that of serving children and their families with Neuro-Developmental
and Behavioral Disorders, Neuro-Psychiatric Disorders and Learning.
I hold Board Certifications in Clinical Psychotherapies and
Forensic Evaluations. I am a court neutral expert witness on
these matters for Burlington County Family Courts. I am licensed
and Board Certified to evaluate, diagnose and treat all psychiatric
disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, in fifty states.
My role as a member of an IEP team is the same as any other
Child Study Team member, which is to assist in developing the
most appropriate IEP to meet the child’s needs. Families
in my practice ask me to articulate their concerns, as a professional
with “special knowledge” of their child. They ask
me to help them understand the services provided to their child,
so they can be equal participants in their child’s IEP.
In preparing for my role in an IEP process, I have read the
IDEA and the State Administrative Code. Every Child Study Team
member should have this information in order to meet the child’s
needs, under the IDEA. New Jersey was ranked 50th of 50 states
in meeting IDEA standards for children with disabilities. This
standard should concern all of us. It is especially frustrating
to a parent, with a child who has a disability. Every member
of the IEP team should be advocating in this fashion. Please
do not confuse my advocating for a child’s needs as Legal
Advocacy or Legal Representation. The information I provide
is for educational purposes, not legal advice. The goal is
cooperation in the best interest of the child.
When all possible recourses have been exhausted, I will support
my family as an Expert Witness. I will offer recommendations
of Educational Attorneys. I will work closely with my family
and their attorney to achieve the Best Interest of the Child.