Loading Events

« All Events

Legal Issues Facing Military Families with Special Needs

Wed July 28th: 11:00 am-12:00 pm EDT


Event Navigation

special needs

About This Webinar

There are over 1.3 active duty military families serving our country right now.  While many Americans imagine these families work, live and attend school on a military installation, it’s largely not true.  Our 1.5 million military children live and attend school in local communities. Over 140,000 of those families have one or more family members and children with a special need – physical, mental, emotional, medical or educational.  Any family with a child or adult with a special need knows that challenges are normal, but these challenges become magnified especially when a child with a special need is asked to move 6-9 times over a parent’s career.  This presentation will answer those core legal questions that parents face when interacting with a school system and highlight some of the difference in the rules from state to state.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review requirements for getting children tested for special education or related services.
  2. Identify legal rights when moving states or schools with a child with special educational needs.
  3. Identify difference between an IEP and a 504 plan.
  4. Address discipline in school for children with special needs.


Colonel Elizabeth Schuchs-Gopaul
Attorney, Retired
United States Air Force

Elizabeth Schuchs-Gopaul is a retired Air Force officer and mother of two children with special needs.  She earned her law degree at the University of Georgia School of Law before embarking on a 22 years career as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force.  As a parent, a spouse, an attorney and as a military member, she has over 12 years of experience in navigating the pitfalls, challenges and victories of the military PCS cycle with a special needs child.  As a parent and a spouse, she has moved her family through four states, nine different schools and countless IEPs, 405s, ABA programs and medical specialists.  As a military member and an attorney, she was the Air Force JAG Corps’ first attorney to specialize in the area of the law in 2010.  She created the first learning center for the Air Force legal community in Special Needs law and has published articles on Wrightslaw and in the Air Force Law Review and the American Bar Association (ABA) legal assistance review on education law issues faced by military children.  She is a four-time Staff Judge Advocate, four time MAJCOM Senior Attorney of the Year, and has been honored with the ABA Keithe E. Nelson award, the Judge Advocate Association Outstanding Career Armed Services Attorney award and with a special recognition award as part of the Commander-in-Chief Installation Excellence Award.

Continuing Education (CE) Credit

  • Social Work, LPC, LMFT: Programming approval for 1.0 CE credits will be obtained for Social Work, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists from the University of Texas at Austin, Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Check with your state licensing agency for reciprocity and/or credit approval if licensed for other professions or in one of the following states: CO, FL, HI, IA, KS, KY, MI, NY, ND, OH, OK
  • Case Manager: This program has been submitted to the Commission for Case Manager Certification for approval to provide board certified case managers with 1.0 clock hours.
  • Board Certified Patient Advocates: This program has been pre-approved by The Patient Advocate Certification Board to provide continuing education credit to Board Certified Patient Advocates (BCPA). The course has been approved for a total of 1.0 CE contact hour, of which 1.0 are in the area of Ethics.
  • Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE):  This program has been approved by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) for 1.0 CE credit for CFLE.
  • Certificates of completion are available for providers interested in documenting their training activities.

Event Materials

Webinar Flyer (PDF)

Event Tags