Tips for Communicating as a Member of the IEP Team

A Brief Overview When families and schools meet to discuss a student’s special education program, they can find Common Ground by remembering that everyone wants the student to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Two short videos, A Tale of Two Conversations, provide a quick look at how a meeting might feel like one Read More

COVID-19 and Disability: Access to Work has Changed

By Kyann Flint The world of work is generally not built for the disability community. Federal laws guarantee the right to work and the right to accommodations, but modern-day jobs do not always give each person an opportunity to succeed. Many workers with disabilities must try harder to make the job fit, and some employers Read More

Special Education Process Demystified in 10 Steps

Here is basic guidance about how special education works. For a bit more detail, visit the 10-Step Guide to the Special Education Process provided by Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Procedural Safeguards protect family and student rights throughout the process. Referral: Is there a known or suspected disability condition that may significantly Read More

Toolkit Basics: Where to Begin When a Student Needs More Help

When a student has unmet needs and may need new or different school-based services, what to do next can feel confusing or overwhelming. PAVE provides this toolkit to support families in taking initial, critical steps. These guidelines apply regardless of where school happens. Is Disability a Factor? Before acting, the family can consider disability and Read More

Key Information and Creative Questions for Families to Consider During COVID-19 Closures

A Brief Overview Districts are responsible to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to students within their boundaries with known or suspected disabilities that significantly impact access to learning. Read on to learn more about FAPE and student rights. Federal and state requirements to ensure that children with qualifying disabilities can access early learning Read More

Sample Letter to Request Evaluation

When a student is struggling in school and there is reason to suspect the challenges are disability related, anyone can refer the student for an educational evaluation. The final section of this article includes a sample letter for requesting a no-cost evaluation from the school district. PAVE provides an article with more detail: Evaluations Part Read More

Sample Letter to Request an IEP Meeting

When a student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the school is required to review the program every year. The annual review date is listed on the cover page of the IEP document. Family members/caregivers can request additional meetings, and this article includes a sample letter that families can use to formally request an IEP Read More

IDEA: The Foundation of Special Education

A Brief Overview The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that entitles children to special education services if disability significantly impacts access to education and a specially designed program is needed. Key concepts are from the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, passed in 1975. The United States celebrated 45 years Read More

Child Find: Schools Have a Legal Duty to Evaluate Children Impacted by Disability

A Brief Overview School districts have an affirmative duty to locate, evaluate and potentially serve any infant, toddler or school-aged student impacted by disability under the Child Find Mandate — part of special education law. The duty to evaluate is based on a known or suspected disability that may significantly impact access to learning. Data from evaluation then determines eligibility. Read More