The Everything Parent's Guide to Special Education: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Advocating for Your Child with Special Needs

The Everything Parent's Guide to Special Education: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Advocating for Your Child with Special Needs

by Amanda Morin


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440569678
Publisher: Adams Media
Publication date: 04/18/2014
Series: Everything Series
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,180,084
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Amanda Morin has advocated for her own child with special needs, as well as many others, working with Child Development Services of Maine and the Center for Disability Rights. She has also counseled parents and worked as a teacher and intervention specialist. She has written about special education for many websites and publications, including,,,,,, and She lives in Bangor, Maine.

Table of Contents

Introduction 11

01 The Basics of Special Education 13

What Special Education Is 14

An Overview of Special Education Services 14

Who Receives Special Education Services? 16

Related Services 18

Why Special Education Is Needed 19

The Parents' View of Special Education 19

02 Special Education Terms Translated 21

What All Those Letters Mean 22

Common Special Education Terms Defined 23

03 A Quick Look at Special Education Law 33

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA) 34

ADA's Connection to Special Education 35

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 36

Section 504's Connection to Special Education 36

IDEA 2004 38

A Side-by-Side Comparison of the Laws 41

04 A Look at Early Intervention Services 45

Do All States Provide Early Intervention Services? 46

Identifying Children Who Need Early Intervention 46

The Assessment Process 47

Writing an Individual Family Service Plan 51

Transitioning to School-Based Services 54

05 The Thirteen Categories of Disability 57

What to Know about "Disabling Conditions" and "Adverse Effect" 58

Autism 58

Deaf-Blindness 60

Deafness 61

Emotional Disturbance 62

Hearing Impairment 63

Intellectual Disability 65

Multiple Disabilities 66

Orthopedic Impairment 67

Other Health Impairment 68

Specific Learning Disability 69

Speech or Language Impairment 70

Traumatic Brain Injury 72

Visual Impairment 73

06 Do You Think Your Child Has a Learning Disability? 75

What Is a Learning Disability? 76

Collecting Information about Your Concerns 77

Bringing Your Concerns to the Teacher 78

Signs Your Child Might Have a Learning Disability 80

Types of Learning Disabilities 83

ADHD Is Not a Learning Disability 84

How to Get Special Education Services for Your Child with ADHD 86

07 More about Section 504 89

Why Bother with a 504 Plan? 90

Getting Services under Section 504 91

The Benefits of a 504 Plan 93

What a 504 Plan Includes 93

How a 504 Plan Is Different from an IEP 94

Some Conditions That Qualify for a 504 Plan 95

08 Trying Something Else First: Response to Intervention 99

What Is RTI? 100

The Basics of How RTI Works 102

The Three Tiers of RTI 103

The Benefits of RTI 104

Being an Advocate in Your Child's RTI Experience 105

Ten RTI Resources for Parents 106

09 Keeping Involved in Your Child's Education 109

Getting to Know the School 110

Getting to Know Your Child's Teacher 110

Starting a Records Binder 112

Requesting Your Child's Records 114

How to Write a Request for Records Letter 114

Keeping a Communication Log 116

Getting the Special Education Process Started 117

10 After a Referral Has Been Made 121

What Happens Now? 122

The Difference Between an Evaluation and an Assessment 125

A Parent's Rights and Role in the Process 126

Preparing Your Child for Assessment 126

11 The Evaluation and Assessment Process 129

The Basic Components of an Evaluation 130

What's an Evaluation Plan? 132

What to Do If You Don't Agree with the Plan 134

Talking to the Evaluator 137

The Evaluation Report 139

Reviewing the Report 140

12 What You Need to Know about Testing 143

What Is an IQ? 144

IQ Ranges 146

Tests Used to Measure Intelligence 148

What Other Things Can Be Assessed? 149

Advocating for a Truly Comprehensive Evaluation 153

13 Is Your Child Eligible for Special Education? 155

Tips to Prepare for an Eligibility Meeting 156

What to Expect at an Eligibility Meeting 159

What Happens Next? 162

14 Being Your Child's Advocate Before the IEP Meeting 165

Creating an Ideal IEP 166

Supporting Your Ideal IEP 169

Keeping Track of How Your Child Is Doing 172

Finding Out about Your Child's Educational Program Options 173

Evaluating Your District's Programs 176

15 All about IEPs (Individualized Education Program) 179

What Is an IEP? 180

Who Are the Members of the IEP Team? 180

Know Your IEP Rights 181

The Right to an Independent Evaluation 184

An In-Depth Look at an IEP 188

The Standards-Based IEP 193

16 It's All about the Goals 195

What Is a Goal, Anyway? 196

The Basics of an Effective Goal 198

Why You Should Draft Goals Before a Meeting 201

Creating a Goal Chart 203

17 Preparing for the IEP Meeting (Part I) 207

Rules about Scheduling and Attendance 208

Who Should and Can Be There 209

Alternatives to Traditional Meetings 211

When It's Okay to Forgo an Annual Meeting 214

Questions to Ask about the Meeting 214

Giving the School the Benefit of the Doubt 216

18 Preparing for the IEP Meeting (Part II) 217

Know Your Stuff, Know Your Position 218

Organize, Organize, and Organize! 223

Practice Your Rebuttal Skills 224

Having Your Own Advocate 226

Do You Need an Attorney? 229

19 Attending and Participating in an IEP Meeting 231

Arriving at the Meeting 232

Parents Are Team Members, Too 232

Eight IEP Dos and Don'ts 233

Choosing Battles and Words Wisely 234

Asking Questions and Challenging Assertions 235

Moving a Meeting Along 237

Coming to a Consensus 240

What's Best for Your Child? 242

20 When Problems Arise at School 243

What to Do When the IEP Isn't Being Followed 244

Dealing with Disputes 247

What Are Due Process Rights? 248

Filing a State Complaint 249

Mediation 253

Filing Due Process 257

The Due Process Hearing 259

Your Child's Unique Needs 260

Appendix A An Online Sample IEP 261

Appendix B Sample Letters 263

Appendix C Sample Forms 279

Appendix D Support and Advocacy Resources 291

Index 299

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