Special Education Guidebook for Educationally Involved Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities: Table of Contents
#1 – Know Your Child’s Learning Disability
- Find an Independent Evaluator – Visit this website and select “Find a Board Certified Psychologist,” and select “Clinical Neuropsychology” to locate a qualified neuropsychologist in your state. Using this tool will give you a list of professionals. Check with local special education groups and resources (COPAA.org is a good choice) to determine if the individual professional is a highly qualified individual who you will provide you with a comprehensive evaluation.
- LD Online – “LD OnLine seeks to help children and adults reach their full potential by providing accurate and up-to-date information and advice about learning disabilities and ADHD. The site features hundreds of helpful articles, multimedia, monthly columns by noted experts, first person essays, children’s writing and artwork, a comprehensive resource guide, very active forums, and a Yellow Pages referral directory of professionals, schools, and products.”
- International Dyslexia Association – An association dedicated to providing information to people affected by dyslexia, to families affected by dyslexia, and professionals who work with people who have dyslexia. “The mission and purpose of IDA is to pursue and provide the most comprehensive range of information and services that address the full scope of dyslexia and related difficulties in learning to read and write…in a way that creates hope, possibility, and partnership.”
- Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) – “CHADD has three current priority objectives: (1) to serve as a clearinghouse for evidence-based information on AD/HD, (2) to serve as a local face-to-face family support group for families and individuals affected by ADHD, and (3) to serve as an advocate for appropriate public policies and public recognition in response to needs faced by families and individuals with ADHD.”
- Asperger’s Syndrome – “The Autism Society, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.”
- Organization for Autism Research – Organization for Autism Research has grown into one of the world’s leading autism science and research organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
#2 – Know Your Special Education Rights
- Basic IEP Training – A basic online training module to familiarize yourself with IEPs, what should be in IEPs, how to write good IEP goals, to better prepare for your child’s individual education program planning meetings. Navigate through the training by using the “Previous” and “Next” links at the bottom of each page’s content.
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to children and youth with disabilities.
- Wright’s Law – A comprehensive resource site for parents regarding special education laws and advocacy for children with disabilities including specific learning disabilities. This site explains the laws in terms that are easy to understand and was a mainstay for my special education advocacy days when I was advocating on behalf of my son.
- Council for Exceptional Children – Calling themselves the “Voice and Vision of Special Education,” the Council for Exceptional Children provides comprehensive information and interpretation regarding special education provisioning and rights of children with disabilities.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information and Technical Assistance – Provides publications, videos, and comprehensive information about the rights of persons with disabilities as well as information and resources for insuring compliance with the ADA laws. You can get assistance with ADA enforcement through the U.S. Department of Justice through this ADA government site.
#3 – Learn To Advocate For Your Child
- From Emotions to Advocacy – The Special Education Survival Guide – A fabulous resource book that teaches you how to advocate for your child, how to prepare for IEP meetings, the best ways to communicate with your child’s school and much more. I found this book invaluable in teaching me how to calmly and wisely advocate for my son.
- FETAWeb.org (From Emotions To Advocacy Website) – This website is a companion to the Emotions to Advocacy book above. It contains a lot of additional information and resource links to help you build your advocacy skills on behalf of your child.
- All About IEPs: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About IEPs – Understanding Individual Education Plans inside-out is key to being sure your child’s needs are well documented and supported by your child’s IEP’s. This book will answer virtually any question you may have about the different sections of IEPs, what they mean and what should be in the section.
- Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) – “OSEP administers the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). ” IDEA is “intended to ensure that the rights of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their parents are protected.” Check out the “Parents & Families” menu option for tips and information that will help you advocate better for your child.
- Families and Advocates Partnership for Education (FAPE) – Provides important updates regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and information related to improving educational outcomes for children with specific learning disabilities.
#4 – Get A Special Education Advocate’s Assistance
- National Parent Technical Assistance Center – “Parent Centers serve families of children of all ages (birth to 26) and with all disabilities (physical, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional). Parent Centers provide a variety of services including one-to-one support and assistance, workshops, publications, and websites. The majority of Parent Center staff members and board members are parents of children with disabilities so they are able to bring personal experience, expertise, and empathy when working with families.”
- Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA) – “COPAA is committed to creating a level playing field to ensure children with disabilities receive the high-quality education to which they are entitled and have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that is designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for post-secondary outcomes, community participation, and employment. COPAA also works to increase the quality and quantity of representation and ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected.”
- Special Education Advocacy Center – has a mission of advocating for the educational rights of all students and seeks to empower the families of people with disabilities.
- IEPadvocate4you – Carol Sadler, a wonderful advocate for children, shares information and resources to help parents better advocate for their children. I realize most people will not be in close proximity to Carol and would not be able to use her personal advocacy services, but I include her as an example of what to look for in a great advocate near you. If you live in the Atlanta Metro area, you’re in luck–so does Carol!
#5 – Escalate to a Special Education Attorney if Needed
- Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA) – As mentioned in the prior bullet, COPAA seeks to ensure children with disabilities, including those with specific learning disabilities, receive high-quality instruction. This link item will take you to the form where you can search to find an attorney near you. For special education legal issues, it is very wise to obtain an attorney who specializes in this specific area of law, so I would highly recommend using this tool to find an attorney to handle your case.
- National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) – Find the specific agency in your state charged with providing assistance for disability rights violations. “NDRN is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP). There is a P&A/CAP agency in every state and U.S. territory and the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.”
- Law Ofc of Allison B. Vrolijk, Esq, Special Education Attorney – Allison Vrolijk is a highly qualified special education attorney who blogs about special education cases in her “You Decide” scenarios. Becoming a fan of Allison’s Facebook page will help you better understand how special education cases play out in the courts, often in very interesting ways. If you live in the Atlanta Metro area and need a great special education attorney, you’re in luck–Allison Vrolijk lives in the Atlanta Metro area.
#6 – Changing Educational Providers
- Online Virtual School Options (Connections Academy, K12, etc.) – There are an increasing number of online options for schooling your child at home while he is enrolled in a public or private virtual school. These virtual school options are excellent when your child is highly stressed by the traditional school environment. You can become your child’s learning coach while your child’s online teacher provides the instruction, assignments, and grading.
- Charter Schools – Use the charter school finder tools at the Center for Educational Reform and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools to see which charter schools are available in your area. Investigate charter schools near you to see if any of them will be a good fit.
- Private Schools for Children with Disabilities – The best approach to finding private schools that serve children with disabilities, especially specific learning disabilities, is to search in a search engine for: “Private Schools for Children with Disabilities” in conjunction with your state or your child’s specific disability. There are many state-based listings, which are too numerous to list here, but you can find them through a web search fairly easily by using the search terms I provided.
#7 – End the Games: Educating Your Child Yourself
- Research supporting homeschooling children with special needs:
- A Preliminary Investigation of the Effectiveness of Homeschool Instructional Environments for Students With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – “The results indicated that home school students were academically engaged about two times as often as public school students and experienced more reading and math gains. The key variable appeared to involve student to teacher ratios that existed between the two settings.”
- Defying the Stereotypes of Special Education: Homeschool Students. – “For both gifted and learning disabled students, the study finds that the educational philosophies and pedagogies employed emphasize: (1) a focus on the whole child rather than primarily on the child’s disability or extreme ability; (2) individualized attention; and (3) care, patience and respect for the child that leads the teaching in both the timing and content of instruction.”
- Homeschooling: What Educators Should Know – “Research indicates that home schoolers score as well or better than their public school peers on achievement tests. This can be attributed to the significant amount of time parents’ devote to their children’s education and the availability of educational resources for home schooling.”
- Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling with Insider Information – Learn how you can develop enough patience to home school your children, how to handle socialization, find out how to provide your child(ren) with a great education, regardless of whether you have been to college or not and have your eyes opened to the pros and cons for home schooling gifted children, or children with or without special needs. If you are at an educational crossroad and are considering home schooling your child(ren), “Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling with Insider Information” will help bring understanding of how home schooling really works. The aim of this book is to help you make an informed decision about home schooling through facts and insider information from within the home schooling community.
- Questions and Answers from LearningAbledKids.com about homeschooling children with specific learning disabilities – A section of this website that answers specific questions parents have asked regarding homeschooling a child with specific learning disabilities.
- Learning Abled Kids Parent Support Group – If you need specific advice for home educating your child, or just need to find a place where people understand your child’s struggles, Learning Abled Kids is a great place to be. Please join us!
- National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network – “Encouraging homeschooling families with special needs children, in ways that glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and equipping parents to confidently homeschool their children with special needs or disabilities.”
Table of Contents
- 1 Special Education Guidebook for Educationally Involved Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities: Table of Contents
- 1.1 #1 – Know Your Child’s Learning Disability
- 1.2 #2 – Know The IDEA Laws and Your Child’s Special Education Rights
- 1.3 #3 – Learn To Advocate For Your Child
- 1.4 #4 – Get A Special Education Advocate’s Assistance
- 1.5 #5 – Escalate to a Special Education Attorney if Needed
- 1.6 #6 – Changing Educational Providers
- 1.7 #7 – End the Games: Educating Your Child Yourself
- 1.8 #1 – Know Your Child’s Learning Disability
- 1.9 #2 – Know Your Special Education Rights
- 1.10 #3 – Learn To Advocate For Your Child
- 1.11 #4 – Get A Special Education Advocate’s Assistance
- 1.12 #5 – Escalate to a Special Education Attorney if Needed
- 1.13 #6 – Changing Educational Providers
- 1.14 #7 – End the Games: Educating Your Child Yourself