Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy

The Special Education Survival Guide by Pam Wright & Pete Wright

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Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition


Good special education services are intensive and expensive. Resources are limited. If you have a child with special needs, you may wind up battling the school district for the services your child needs. To prevail, you need information, skills, and tools.

From Emotions to Advocacy Front Cover

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy is a practical "survival guide" that teaches parents and others how to advocate for children with disabilities.

From Emotions to Advocacy (FETA) is more than a book. FETA has a companion web site called FetaWeb that is under construction. Content on the FetaWeb site is organized to track the contents of the book.

How the Book is Organized

Section One is “Getting Started.” 

You will learn:

• 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.”

In this section, you will learn about:

• 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.”

In this section, you will learn:

• Why you must become an expert about your child’s disability and educational needs
• 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.”

In this section, you will learn about:

• 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 hearings, 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.”

In this section, you will learn about:

• The “Rules of Adverse Assumptions,” proof and evidence, and image and presentation
• 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 letters


• 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

Special Education and Legal Terms
Assessment Terms

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy - The Special Education Survival Guide (ISBN 1-892320-08-8) will be published in Fall 2001 by Harbor House Law Press.

Subscribers to The Special Ed Advocate newsletter will receive an announcement about a special pre-publication offer when the book is at the printer.

If you subscribe to The Special Ed Advocate, a newsletter published by Pete and Pam Wright of Wrightslaw, you will receive a notice about a pre-publication discount on the book.



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