IEP Tips: Evaluation, Present Levels, SMART goals

Getting services at school starts with evaluation. Eligible students get an individualized Education Program (IEP), which describes a student’s present levels of performance and how specially designed instruction supports progress toward annual goals. This article provides a quick overview of the basic IEP process and provides tips for family caregivers to get more involved. PAVE Read More

Special Education Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my child has a developmental delay? If you suspect that your child might have a developmental delay, you should talk with your child’s pediatrician. They may conduct a developmental screening. Where can I learn more about tracking milestones? The Learn the Signs. Act Early website includes tools for tracking milestones Read More

Surrogate Parents Support Unaccompanied Students in Special Education

A Brief Overview Full Article If a student eligible for special education services does not have a family caregiver, adoptive parent, or other legal guardian fulfilling the role of parent, then a surrogate parent is assigned to ensure the student’s rights are protected. The surrogate parent fulfills the family caregiver role on a student’s Individualized Read More

PAVE Provides Sample Letters to Support Families in their Advocacy

An advocate is someone who works toward a cause or goal. Sometimes the hardest part of advocacy is figuring out what to do next. When a child has unmet needs at school, family advocates can seek changes to a student’s services by asking for an evaluation, a meeting, a behavioral assessment, or something else. Putting Read More

Behavioral Health and School: Key Information for Families

When a student struggles to maintain well-being, achievement at school can be a challenge. This video provides key information for families to seek school-based services for behavioral health needs. Included are two advocacy statements that this information might empower you to say in a meeting with the school: “I want to make sure my student’s Read More

Navigating Special Education in Private School

A Brief Overview When a family chooses to enroll their student with disabilities in a private school, they have different rights. Those rights are summarized in this article and further explained by U.S. Department of Education guidance issued in February 2022. School districts are responsible to seek out and evaluate all students suspected of having disabilities Read More

Legal Resources for Highly Mobile Military Families

Military families have unique circumstances that can call for out-of-state or specialized assistance.  For example, when they move to a new duty station, they may need to find a lawyer in the state to which they are moving to help them establish a new guardianship for an adult child with disabilities. Fortunately there is an Read More

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Information and Resources for Families

A Brief Overview A short YouTube video by Osmosis.org provides an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A medical diagnosis of autism is not required for school-based evaluations or interventions. Read on for more information. Families concerned about a child’s development can call the state’s Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588. This toll-free number offers help in English, Read More

Evaluations Part 2: Next Steps if the School Says ‘No’

A Brief Overview Full Article Parents have a variety of choices if the school denies a request to evaluate a student for special education or if the school does an evaluation and finds the student ineligible for services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Here are some options to consider. Is disability a factor? A student qualifies for IEP services when three Read More

Get SMART About Tracking Progress and Updating Goals with Your IEP Team

Holiday break is a good time to check on your student’s progress in school. You can take another look at the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and compare the goals to current progress. If you don’t have a current progress reports on IEP goals, mid-year is a good time to ask school staff to provide them. Read More

Developmental Disabilities Ombuds

By Tim McCue Self Advocacy Educator Pronouns: he/him/his Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds The Developmental Disabilities Ombuds; what are they all about? Are you frustrated with your DD services? We are here to help! An ombuds is a person who makes sure that people who are getting a certain type of service have protection and Read More

Suspension Know your Rights

A Dear Colleague Letter The US Department of Education (DOE), in an effort to keep families and educators informed, has produced a number of Dear Colleague Letters on topics of concern. Among these are two addressing issues around discipline, suspension/expulsion, and the use of School Resource Officers (SRO’s). These are critical topics of concern considering the Read More

What Are Your Rights and Responsibilities to an Appropriate Education for your Child with a Disability?

As the parent of a child who has disabilities, you have the right to: Expect a free, appropriate public education (F.A.P.E.) for your child. Refer your child for an evaluation for a 504 plan and/or for special education. Meet with the school district to decide whether or not to evaluate your child to determine if he Read More

What are Procedural Safeguards?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to provide the parents/guardians of a student who is eligible for or referred for special education with a notice containing a full explanation of the rights available to them. School districts must provide parents a copy of the Procedural Safeguards: At least once every school year. Read More