Dana is fun! And funny! Her podcasts, of which there are 43 episodes, touch on wideranging subjects including mediation, extended school year, school boards, IEP preparation, advocacy, dyslexia, residential placements, and more. The sheer number of topics Dana has covered is truly staggering and she manages to imbue humor and a parent’s perspective along with her legal experience and background into each and every episode. Dana has guested on a couple of Special Education Legal Fund webinars and her professional and personal experience makes her a fantastic addition to any panel.
The sheer number of podcasts is the great thing about Special Ed on Special Ed. It also can seem somewhat overwhelming for a parent seeking specific information on a specific topic. I personally found the episode “Who’s on Your School Board?” to be fascinating and listening to it gave me a greater understanding of representative democracy in its most direct and undistilled version – your local school board. Would I have listened to it if I were a parent seeking basic knowledge about the special education system and how to think about advocating for my child? Maybe, maybe not.
I also found, at times, that the catchy titles – while clever and funny – made it a bit harder to glean the actual topic of the podcast. For example, I looked at the list of titles twice before I found the podcast that I had guested on.
Nothing ugly here. Despite the plethora of episodes and topics, Dana is always funny and has a great rapport with all of her guests. She features great local resources, advocates and parent stories which are always engaging. All that local focus means that her podcast is great for Nutmeggers first and foremost but is all in all a great and entertaining resource for families in Connecticut and beyond with special education needs.
For more information about Attorney Dana Jonson, visit her website.
The question that I get asked most frequently (right after “How can I apply for a grant”) is “Do you have a special education attorney that you would recommend?” The answer to this question is a frustrating (for both the asker and the asker) ‘no.’ What I do tell families is that they should meet with more than one attorney. You shouldn’t always go with the person that your friend recommends, although that’s a good place to start, because every case, child, and circumstance is different. I’ve seen the same attorney achieve vastly different results for different clients who have the same diagnosis and live in the same district. And keep in mind that your rapport with your chosen attorney is going to be incredibly important, and anything you do to get a better sense of that attorney’s personality and style will be helpful in making your ultimate decision. For that reason, listening to podcasts like these as well as the webinars and other information sources that are out there can prove invaluable to families in search of the appropriate legal support for a difficult and challenging time.
Disclaimer: Every attorney podcast reviewed for this article has received a grant from Special Education Legal Fund on behalf of a client in S.E.L.F.’s Legal Assistance Program. Special Education Legal Fund does not recommend attorneys for clients or prospective clients and did not recommend or suggest Attorneys Jonson, Laviano, or Forte to the S.E.L.F. clients that retained them. Christine Lai has appeared as a guest on Special Ed on Special Ed with Dana Jonson (Episode 7, April 8th 2020 “Can I do this myS.E.L.F. or will I need help?”) and has taped an episode of Let’s Talk SpedLaw with Jeff Forte that has not aired at the time of publication.