Special education attorney Nora Belanger will speak on "What to Do When the School Says No" during an event presented by Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Inc. from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, 55 Myrtle Ave., Westport.

Belanger will lead the workshop to help parents overcome the obstacles often encountered in receiving services for their children with learning disabilities and related disorders, and building a case for school districts to say "yes" to appropriate services.

Belanger will discuss the tools parents need to advocate for their children, particularly in these economic times when school districts facing reduced resources may have goals that diverge from those of parents. The presentation will help to empower parents to become effective advocates in partnership with the school district, and to learn to assert their rights to a free and appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

In addition, she will address everything parents need to know to design an appropriate Individualized Education Plan to ensure its implementation, and to effectively track their child's progress.

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Belanger, a special education and disability rights attorney in Norwalk, has presented both nationally and internationally, most recently in Riga, Latvia, on the subject of special education law and parents' rights. She represents parents at Planning and Placement Team sessions, mediation, due process hearings and in federal court on issues concerning the provision of a free and appropriate public education. Prior to becoming an attorney, she was employed as a certified special education teacher in Connecticut.

Admission is free. For reservations or information, call 203-226-6831.