Evaluations Part 1: Where to Start When a Student Needs Special Help at School

A Brief Overview Full Article If a student is having a hard time at school and has a known or suspected disability, the school evaluates to see if the student qualifies for special education. A child is protected in their right to be evaluated by the Child Find Mandate, which is part of the federal Read More

Sample Letter to Request Evaluation

A Brief Overview Washington State requires special education referrals to be in writing (WAC 392-172A-03005). Anyone with knowledge of a student can write a referral. The state provides a form for making a special education referral, downloadable from a website page titled, Making a Referral for Special Education. The form is not required—any written request Read More

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

A Brief Overview If the school denies a request for a special education evaluation or does an evaluation and determines a student is ineligible for services, families have options. Read on for information about some possible next steps. When there is a dispute about a district’s evaluation, one option is to request an Independent Educational Read More

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

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

Advocacy Tips for Parents

When a child has a disability, parents often learn that getting their child’s needs met requires persistence, organization, and advocacy. Advocacy is an action. A person is an advocate when they organize the work and press onward until a goal is achieved. Laws that protect the rights of students with disabilities also protect parents as Read More

IDEA: The Foundation of Special Education

A Brief Overview Full Article The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that was passed in 1990 and has been amended. The IDEA provides children with qualifying disabilities, from birth to age 21, with the right to services designed to meet their unique, individual needs. Eligible children ages 3-21 who receive Read More

STOMP: Workshops and Webinars

Workshops and Webinars  STOMP offers virtual workshops across multiple days, two-day in-person workshops, and 90-minute webinars on a variety of topics. STOMP’s hope is to enhance the connections and knowledge of our military families. Some of the topics include Parents Rights and Responsibilities in Achieving Education Services (IDEA, IFSP, IEP, IEP Teams, and 504), Advocacy, Read More

Special Education is a Service, Not a Place

A Brief Overview Full Article An ill-informed conversation about special education might go something like this: This conversation includes errors in understanding about what special education is, how it is delivered, and a student’s right to be included with general education peers whenever and wherever possible. This article intends to clear up confusion. An important Read More

Section 504: A Plan for Equity, Access and Accommodations

A Brief Overview Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is upheld by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Section 504 prohibits discrimination based on disability in any program or activity that receives federal funding. All Washington state public schools must comply with this federal law. Every student Read More

Disability History Month Provides Opportunities for Reflection

A Brief Overview Full Article Disability History and Awareness Month in October provides an opportunity for policy makers, teachers, families and people throughout communities to reflect on the disability rights movement. Equity and access are protected by law, yet there is still work to be done to ensure that laws are upheld and that everyone 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. If your family is new to Washington State, military connected, or you Read More

Sample Letter to Request an IEP Meeting

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

PAVE Provides Sample Letters to Support Families in their Advocacy

You can print this page as an accessible PDF! Download here 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 Read More

Related Services in School and Beyond can Support a Child’s Development and Learning

A Brief Overview At school, related services help children with disabilities benefit from their special education by providing extra help and support. Options for related services are described in state law (WAC 392-172A-01155). If a child with public health insurance needs specific therapies to meet medical needs, their insurance company is obligated to support those Read More