THE SPECIAL EDUCATION ADVOCACY AND RESOURCES
IDEA (THE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES ACT) IS AN IMPORTANT LAW THAT OUTLINES SPECIAL EDUCATION AND RELATED SERVICES FOR QUALIFYING STUDENTS.
As a parent, you can do much to help your child, with identified needs, receive the supports they require to be successful in school. You can start by becoming educated about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
A Call to Advocacy
"All parents can and should participate meaningfully in their children’s education, including those whose children receive special education services."
"The value of parent participation has been recognized under law since 1975, most recently as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (Coots, 2007). Many scholars and professionals in the field of special education have explored various approaches to collaboration since then, and research has demonstrated the benefits for all parties involved: from children and their families, to teachers and principals, to district administrators and the communities they serve."
-Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education
Be Your Child's Expert: Know Your Child, their Strengths and Needs
Get Involved and Stay Involved in Your Child's Special Education
Do your research on Special Education and How the System Works
Read and Understand your Child's IEP; Get help to understand it!
Be Professional: Stay on Task and Follow Up
Identify an Agenda for School Meetings
Document, Document, Document
Have a Problem-Solving Attitude: Don't be Afraid to Address Concerns
Involve Others When Things Go South
Special Education Resources
LEARN THE LAW
It is important that you become familiar with the federal regulations and how these laws apply to your child's particular situation.
IDEA, the Individuals with Disability Act, was originally enacted by Congress in 1975 to ensure that children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education, just like other children.
Wrightslaw is a website for parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.
It is important that you become familiar with the decision makers of Special Education in your child's particular school district.
This Colorado Interagency Coordinating Council is mandated by federal law and is appointed by the governor to advise and assist the lead agency to implement the requirements of Part C (Early Intervention) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which addresses serves to children, birth through the age of two years. This group meets quarterly.
The State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education reviews best practices and recommends to policy makers and educators strategies to increase parent involvement in public education, thereby helping to improve the quality of public education and raise the level of students' academic achievement throughout Colorado.
Special Education Advisory Committees (SEAC) are State and school district committees composed of parents and to focus on the educational needs of students with disabilities. Participation in your district’s or the State SEAC allows parents to meet others who are concerned about special education and to meet district or state personnel.
HEED SOME ADVICE
Two amazing books that are a must read and a must have for every parent whose child receives special education services. These books will help you understand special education terms and procedures, the law and the implementation of it, as well as parent's rights. The THRIVE Center offers a free copy of the Every Day Guide to Special Education to participants of their special education workshops. This opportunity is available to parents and educators in the Denver Metro area thanks to a generous donation from Randy Chapman, author of The Every Day Guide to Special Education.
The THRIVE Center offers a variety of free workshops in the Denver metro area on the topic of special education, as well as can provide special education information and resource materials. Call us or email us to find out how we can support your child's educational experience.
The annual Inclusion Conference sponsored by PEAK Parent Center is a must attend, featuring national speakers on inclusive practices and offering practical strategies for parents, educators and administrators, all the while championing the benefits of inclusion for all children with disabilities.
CONTINUE YOUR EDUCATION
There are a a variety of websites and Face Book Accounts that speak to best practices for special education and suggest solutions and strategies for many of the challenges associated with educating special children. Take some time to search out the ones that inspire and support your endeavors on your child's behalf. The above internet resources are just a sampling of what is available.
The Benefits of Advocacy for Your Child
Almost four decades of research “have demonstrated that parent/family involvement significantly contributes to improved student outcomes” (Carter, 2002, p. 1). Schools commonly involve parents through communication, consultation before decision-making, family opportunities at school, and support for home-based learning (see Epstein, 2001, and National Parent Teacher Association, 2008, among others). “The evidence is consistent, positive and convincing: families have a major influence on their children’s achievement in school and through life” (Henderson and Mapp, 2002, p. 7). As Boyer has summarized, “The message is clear. It is simply impossible to have an island of excellence in a sea of community indifference, and when parents become school partners, the results can be consequential and enduring” (1995, p. 61).
Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education