From Emotions to Advocacy
The Special Education Survival Guide by Pam & Pete Wright
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Year in Review Series
"Can you imagine educating a child with a disability without a master plan? You do not know about the child's disability, how the disability affects the child's learning, or how the child needs to be taught. You do not know what services and supports the child needs."
do not know what steps you should take to ensure that your child receives
appropriate services. You do not know if your child is making progress.
You are not aware of obstacles you may encounter or how to resolve
problems. Is it reasonable to think you will figure this out as you
go along?" (Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy
by Pam and Pete Wright)
are like many parents, you are confused about your role. What
do you need to learn? How can you ensure that the school provides
your child with quality, appropriate special education services?
to make long-term plans for your child. You are the constant factor
in your child's life. You represent your child's interests. If your
child does not receive an appropriate education and master the skills
necessary to be an independent, self-sufficient member of the community,
you will deal with the outcome.
time to organize information about your child, make long-term plans,
write goals with timelines, and build working relationships with school
personnel. View your job You will negotiate with the school on your
child's behalf. Your goal is to get the school to provide your child
with a good special education program.
schools represent their interests. Schools and school boards
are concerned about cost and efficiency.
Until now, most parents have been barred from effective advocacy by lack of information and isolation. The Internet is changing the status quo.
Parents who learn about their children’s rights (and their own rights and responsibilities) and learn how to use tactics and strategies are more likely to succeed in getting good services for their children.
If you are a “new parent,” this Game Plan will help you get started. You need to learn about your child's disability, educational techniques, how to measure progress, how to negotiate, how to use tactics and strategies to negotiate.
about your child's disability, visit disabilities information web sites.
Use our Directory
of Disabilities Information Organizations.
The Wrightslaw Advocacy Library has dozens of articles that will help you be a more effective advocate for your child.
Read this Overview of Rights and Responsibilities published by NICHCY.
Visit the Law Library at Wrightslaw and download the IDEA Statute that includes Pete's commentary.
Contact your State Department of Education – ask them to send you ALL their publications about special education.
Get Private Sector Evaluations
Find a private sector expert who can work with you to develop an appropriate program for your child, evaluate your child's progress, and make recommendations to the IEP team about the services your child needs. (See Chapter 2 of Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy for tips about finding evaluators and consultants.)
Read One Book a Month
Select books in areas where you are least knowledgeable. You will find information about our “Book a Month” plan in the Advocate’s Bookstore at Wrightslaw.com
Subscribe to The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal issues, cases, tactics and strategy, effective educational methods, and Internet links.
Subscribers to The Special Ed Advocate receive announcements and "alerts" about new cases and news events, new uploads, conference announcements, special offers, and more.
If you have questions or need help, visit the Wrightslaw Discussion Group.
We plan to add a Forum to the FetaWeb site so you can post questions and get answers.
Special Ed Advocacy Tutorial
Fantastic 8-part tutorial was written for parents who want to advocate for their children by a psychologist, Dr. Leslie Packer.
You'll learn about the personal qualities of an advocate, basic legal rights under the IDEA and Section 504, Eligibility, Evaluations, Eligibility Meetings, Components of an IEP, Procedural Safeguards (designed to protect your and your child's rights), and discipline issues.
The tutorial also includes sample letters and forms, a glossary of terms, and links to dozens of resources.
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