5 Things Parents of Special Education Students Should Know By Mrs. K. Johnson, M.Ed.

Parent Information Center on Special Education http://www.nhspecialed.org/

Special education is defined as being a specially deigned instructional program for students with disabilities that is governed by the federal government and under the watchful eye of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act). Special education services ensure students with disabilities will receive a free and appropriate education.

Your rights: As a parent(s) of a child with disabilities, you are entitled to answers, help, and communication for your child. You should know your child’s strengths and weaknesses in which to speak intelligently for your child. Be open to suggestions and willing to accept change. You have a voice!

The Process: The rules differ from state to state, but the end result is usually the same, testing, meetings, and data collection to develop a plan for the student with special needs.

IEP: Once the approval has been given for your child to receive special education services, an IEP will be developed. IEP is the acronym for Individual Education Plan. This plan will be developed by a team, including you, that will include your child’s current levels, needs, services, and accommodations. The execution of this plan should be between the special education teacher and the general education teacher. As the parent, you have the right to provide input for your child’s IEP, ask questions, and be involved.

Procedural safeguards: You must always be informed of a meeting about your child, you must receive a letter documenting a meeting, parental rights must be provided during every meeting, you can request documents about your child at any time, keep copies of all documents, and finally, you have the right to revoke special education services for your child.

Parent resources:

1. Special education department/LTC (Lead teacher for compliance) within your district/county

2. School counselor

3. School social worker

4. School psychologist

5. Parent Information Center on Special Education http://www.nhspecialed.org/

6. Your state special education department

7. The United States Department of Education -Special Education http://www2.ed.gov/parents/needs/speced/edpicks.jhtml

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