At Understanding Special Education, my goal is to provide you with IEP parent support, focusing on clear information regarding special education services and the IEP process. It is a comprehensive web site where you can seek answers and guidance for your specific needs.
I've also created the Parent IEP Guide and the 504 Parent Handbook for those of you who'd prefer to have this information in a workbook format. It is available as a PDF download or a printed hard copy.
If you are a parent of a special needs child, it is important that you have IEP parent support systems in place that can assist you with challenges we all ultimately face.
Most school districts have a special education Community Advisory Committee or (CAC). The purpose of this committee is to advise the district of matters related to students with exceptional needs and to educate the community on strategies and programs that assist these students. CAC meetings and events provide the opportunity for interaction, communication and IEP parent support. CAC meetings are open to everyone in the community. Check your district’s web site for this information.
Also, I encourage you not to underestimate the power of the parent-teacher conference I hope you will read this section and use parent conferences to increase your communication with your child's school as well as to gain valuable feedback on your child's progress.
If your child has a serious disability, it is important to remember that throughout your child’s life, you may experience feelings that parallel the grief process.
Attending school functions and IEP meetings can result in these feelings to resurface. It is important to acknowledge them and remind yourself that they are common and normal.
Sometimes a parent gets “stuck” in a particular stage and it becomes difficult to progress to the hopeful stage. If this is happening to you, you might want to seek outside support to help you move through this process. Having a child with a disability can also be difficult on a marriage or relationship. The divorce statistic for couples who have a child with a disability is significantly higher than average.
Another great way to obtain IEP parent support is to expand your knowledge of collaboration techniques. These work great during an IEP meeting and can increase your success rate in obtaining the services you are seeking for your child.
Being in conflict only brings more stress into your life and to your child’s education.
Collaboration techniques allow you to work more effectively with your district in creating the best possible IEP for your child. Additional IEP meetings and mediation are both also very effective in resolving disputes.
However, if all efforts fail, make sure you know and understand your due process rights that are mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If your child has an identified handicap or disability there are non-profit organizations available that provide information, medical assistance, referrals and counseling.
Check out the LINKS SECTION to connect to some of the leading non-profit organizations and other web sites that work with families.
Also, review the section on IEP parent support terms and definitions to further your understanding of special education.
REMEMBER...if you disagree with your school's evaluation results, you have the right to request an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) at no cost to you.
If you are having a problem with your school district or have a concern about your child and you can't seem to find the answer, please feel free to ASK US. I will answer your question within 24 hours with the best guidance, insight or resource I can provide. However, remember that I am not a personal advocate for hire so please don't provide your phone number.
Are you a parent with a story to tell? If you have something valuable to share with other parents, I encourage you to think about building your own site. You can read more about how I did it with Site Sell.
To read inspirational thoughts and words of support from other parents of children with special needs, check out the Comfort Wall.