Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Interview with Jennifer Oneal Price Author of EmpowerEd

Jennifer Price is a special education attorney in the Pittsburgh metro area who has received awards for her legal skills and advocacy.  As a former prosecutor, Attorney Price is very familiar with the courts and believes in making sure every child has an opportunity to succeed both in school and in life.  Her boutique law firm provides services protecting and defending against abuses of the criminal justice system, as well as the educational systems.  With 10 years of experience, Attorney Price’s advocacy has resulted in successes, including getting criminal charges withdrawn, preventing children from getting expelled out of school and federal civil rights lawsuits. Aa a speaker, she has presented at seminars and workshops and has also made regular television appearances for her legal opinions.




About the Book:

This book outlines the progressive steps taken to address the educational needs of an exceptional child. From the Child Find process to filing a Due Process complaint, courts have addressed many legal issues. This book goes through court cases on some key issues from 2018 with an included workbook-style composition section after the cases. Parents and educational advocates will be able to read the cases and use the Thought Questions and composition space to take notes to better analyze their own case and advocate for their child's educational rights.


Amazon →

Thank you for this interview! I’d like to know more about you as a person first. What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m a mom and attorney (sometimes in that order). I have two children, a college freshman and a 3-year son. My son keeps me busy with playdates, playgrounds, and playing with cars. I also have a private practice that focuses on
disability law. I have a special niche in the area of special education law, but I also handle other disability-related issues. While my 3-year old is in preschool, I run my legal

When did you start writing?

I started writing this book last year, but I’ve started and stopped writing two fiction novels for the past 4 years. While I wish I could say life got in the way and I didn’t have time, having published this book, I think the truth is that fear got in the way. There was a major fear of the unknown (writing and publishing processes). The biggest impetus behind getting this book out there came from wanting to give parents an effective toolset for handling issues with the school district. Parents always wanted information, especially legal updates but never knew how to use those updates for their own situation.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that
be and why? 

Martha’s Vineyard. I love the Vineyard and have visualized, for years, getting a cottage on the beach and just writing, overlooking the ocean. Just being there puts me in a calm state of mind. Coastal life is very calming and relaxing. I’ve always loved working outside. I even spent many days studying for the bar exam outside in the park. Being able to hear the waves crash in the background is that much more inspiring.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do? 

Continue implementing more of my marketing plan. It seems like there’s always a marketing idea for your book that can be done. While the whole writing/publishing process can be overwhelming, the marketing part of it is what I like the most.

Back to your present book, EmpowerEd: Using Real Case Examples to Look Deeper into
IEP Management, how did you publish it? 

I self-published to have more control over the publishing date. Publishing it at the beginning of the school year was important to me since that time of year and soon thereafter is when parents begin to have meetings with school officials over concerns with how things are going.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research? 


Why was writing EmpowerEd: Using Real Case Examples to Look Deeper into IEP
Management so important to you? 

Writing this book was important to me because I came across too many parents who felt overwhelmed and out-resourced by the school district during meetings. They all were interested in learning about legal updates, but they also wanted to know how they could apply the court cases to their own situation. That is why I wrote this book - to help parents understand how the legal cases can be used and also understand how the school district thinks. Research was conducted a few years ago and showed that approximately 55% of parents are unrepresented at hearings, while 100% of school districts are represented by an attorney. In the end, only about 10% of parents won their cases. I wrote this book to help them learn how to more effectively be their own lawyer.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is? 

I think I get my best ideas from watching or listening to various successful entrepreneurs on TV or podcasts.

Plus, I’m a big fan of Shark Tank, which has also given me ideas for marketing.

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