From Emotions to Advocacy

The Special Education Survival Guide by Pam & Pete Wright

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What People Are Saying . . .

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From Emotions to Advocacy cover

"I'm looking forward to reading this more than I am when the annual John Grisham book is released! I am so excited! " Melissa, a parent advocate from Maryland

"I am very excited about this book. I have all of your books, can't survive without them!" Sissy from South Carolina

Read more comments - Reviews (pdf) - Skim the Book (pdf) - Introduction (pdf) - Complete Table of Contents (pdf) - Cover (pdf)

How The Book is Organized

Section One is “Getting Started.”

• Basic advocacy skills
• Supplies you need to get started
• How to develop a master plan for your child’s education
• How to act as your child’s special education project manager

Section Two is “Advocacy 101.”

• Schools as bureaucracies and the rules of the game
• Obstacles to success – school culture, myths, gatekeepers, and emotions
• Common causes of conflict
• Steps you can take to prevent or resolve problems
• Events that trigger parent-school crises

Section Three is “The Parent as Expert.”

• Why you must become an expert about your child’s disability and educa-tional
• How to organize your child’s file, step by step
• How to use information from tests to understand your child’s disability
• How to use test scores to monitor and measure your child’s progress
• How to write SMART IEP goals and objectives

Section Four is “Special Education Law.”

• The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
• Findings and purposes of the IDEA
• Definitions in the IDEA
• Extended school year (ESY), child find, least restrictive environment (LRE),
private placements, and statewide assessments
• Evaluations, eligibility, IEPs, and placement
• Prior written notice, procedural safeguards, mediation, due process hear-ings,
appeals, discipline, and age of majority
• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA)
• Family Educational Records and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Section Five is “Tactics and Strategies.”

• The “Rules of Adverse Assumptions,” proof and evidence, and image and
• How to use logs, calendars, and journals to create paper trails
• How to write effective letters
• How to write a persuasive “Letter to the Stranger”
• How to use problem worksheets, parent agendas, visual aids, and graphs
• Roles of experts
• Pros and cons of tape recording meetings
• How to use problem resolution worksheets and post-meeting thank you


Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy includes several appendices:

• Appendix A to the special education regulations about IEPs, the parental
role, and transition
• Frequently asked questions about special education
• Summary of your rights and responsibilities
• State Departments of Special Education by state
• Parent Training Information Centers by state
• Sources of information about disabilities and special education
• Sources of legal information
• Free publications to help you be a more effective advocate for your child
• Sample letters and worksheets that you can tailor to your needs

The book includes glossaries of assessment terms and special education legal terms.


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