Callahan & Fusco, LLC
Beth A. Callahan, Esq.
Specialty: Special Education Law
FIGHTING FOR FAMILIES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS
Beth Callahan has been practicing law since 1993 and has focused her practice on fighting for students and making sure they receive meaningful and appropriate educations. “My job is to educate my clients regarding what their child’s rights are and getting their children exactly what they need,” Callahan says. When meeting with families, she asks parents of special needs children to answer these questions: Is your child receiving an appropriate and meaningful education? Is your school documenting your child’s progress? Are your child’s individual needs being met? Are your concerns being addressed? Does your child’s Individual Education Program (IEP) meet his or her unique circumstances?
A PERSONAL CALLING
A graduate of The Catholic University and Seton Hall Law School, Callahan’s career choice was inspired by her work with children with special needs as a high school and college student. Callahan is passionate about advocating for children regardless of their disability.
“So much can be done for students with specific learning issues such as scientifically-proven reading and writing programs and huge advances in technology,” she says. In DA vs. Livingston, Callahan showed that the district’s offered program failed to address a student’s unique educational and social issues. She secured a private school placement that allowed the student to achieve meaningful progress academically, and allowed him to find his voice.
One in 41 children in New Jersey has autism. Their fight for scientifically-based services is one focus of Callahan’s practice. ACSO vs. Millburn Board of Education stands out as one of several cases Callahan won for the intensity and quality of applied behavior analytic services needed for this growing population of kids.
PUTTING KIDS’ NEEDS FIRST
Callahan’s job is to guide her clients through the IEP process and advise when to fight and when to settle. Callahan feels having the right legal guidance and expert evaluations evens the playing field with school districts.
Litigation is always a possibility but not always a necessity. “Even when you win in the courtroom, it can be an expensive and emotional process. So any time we can work something out with a school district and help a child get what they need, that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Callahan says. “The child’s needs are never negotiable.”
School safety, mental health and bullying are on the minds of all parents. Callahan believes its crucial to equip children with a supportive educational environment that best addresses their individual needs. For some families, that doesn’t always mean staying in a public school, she says.
PART OF YOUR CHILD’S TEAM
“My clients are the bravest people I know. They’re willing to go to extraordinary lengths to help their children, and we want parents to know that we’re in their corner,” she says. “These kids and the extraordinary teachers, therapists and experts working with them on a daily basis are my heroes. I’m so lucky to get to see the joy and accomplishments perhaps thought impossible when a child and their family get what they need, and to practice in a field that can truly impact children’s lives. I have the best job in the world.”
"Beth is more than our attorney; she's our advocate, counselor, therapist, comic relief and energy boost! She knows the law, how to apply [it] and what it takes to get what we need. She'll keep you focused on the task at hand until the job is done!" -Z.C., Wayne
"Beth actually spent time with my son evaluating his ability, and educated me on special needs schools. She's committed to our family's future!"-E.V., Chester
"Beth is sharp and insightful, and has been personally involved throughout our case. She's been an aggressive advocate and tenacious in all of her interactions with our school district. Beth never lost sight of the importance of what she was doing for our son, his future and our family."-D.A. and P.A., Livingston
This is an advertising profile from the April 2018 issue of New Jersey Family.