Deusdedi Merced is the principal member of Special Education Solutions, LLC (SES). Since 1997, Deusdedi’s legal career has been dedicated to special education. After a period as an attorney with the Office of Legal Services with the New York Board of Education, he spent several years representing parents of children with disabilities and their children before serving as an IDEA hearing officer, mediator, and facilitator in hundreds of matters. He was appointed to serve as Chief Hearing Officer for the District of Columbia for approximately three years and played a key role in assisting the District in being released from court supervision. Deusdedi has presented training programs for hearing officers/Administrative Law Judges at LRP’s National Institute on Legal Issues of Educating Individuals with Disabilities, LRP’s School Attorneys Conference, the Academy for IDEA Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers, as well as the Lehigh Special Education Law Symposium: ALJ/IHO Institute. He has also presented numerous individualized training programs for various SEAs.
Currently, SES has long-term contracts with both New York and Illinois to train their IDEA hearing officers, and was recently retained to assist the Hawaii Department of Education in reestablishing its due process hearing system within a new agency. SES delivers training programs for IDEA hearing officers/administrative laws judges and mediators dictated by the needs of each SEA. In doing so, SES brings to bear the “hands-on” experiences of both Deusdedi and fellow SES member Lyn Beekman. Beyond the traditional sessions on IDEA’s substantive law and procedural requirements, SES can provide trainings on how hearing officers should efficiently, yet fairly, “run” the hearing process from the time of appointment, to the prehearing conference, to the hearing and the writing of the decision, and to the return of the record.
SES’s training approach is dynamic and interactive, with emphasis on using case scenarios and role-plays to strengthen necessary critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In addition to training, Deusdedi has also provided systems consultations and evaluations, as well as compliance and policy reviews for various SEAs. He has drafted appropriate standard practices, manuals, and hearing officer evaluation protocols.
J.D. Albany Law School of Union University
Fluent in conversational Spanish