Parents will find no other book on special education like Your Special Education Rights. Julie and Jennifer demystify the federal laws that govern the rights of public school children with disabilities and explain how school districts often ignore or circumvent these laws. They pull the curtain back on the politics of special education, exposing truths that school districts don’t want you to know, such as the fact that teachers are often under extraordinary pressure not to spend resources on services.
Most importantly, they outline the central rights you and your child have regarding your child’s education. Did you know that you can refer your child for a special education evaluation? That you can ask for a second opinion if you disagree with the results of some or all of the testing? That you are entitled to parent counseling, training, and more?
They also show you how to take that knowledge and apply it to advocating for your child. Here’s what you need to know about the paperwork you will have to complete, detailed information on how to advocate for your child and how to craft language in documents that benefit your child, and more.
Filled with vital information and invaluable resources, Your Special Education Rights gives you the information you need to help your child succeed in school and beyond.
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About the Author
Julie Swanson is a special education advocate whose practice grew out of her efforts to help her son. As an advocate, she helps parents navigate the special education process, including attending IEP and Section 504 meetings. She speaks frequently on special education matters and has a long-standing history of service on special education–related state boards, task forces, and legislative appointments to state councils.
Table of Contents
A Note from the Authors xi
Introduction: The One/Two Punch xvii
Part 1 What Your School District Isn't Telling You 1
1 Your Special Education Director May Not Know Who You Are 5
2 Who's Chairing the Meeting, Anyway? 9
3 They Care about Money. A Lot. 15
4 Teachers Need to Eat, Too 25
5 The Tension between Regular and Special Education 31
6 Other Parents Are Complaining about Your Kid 39
7 The Meeting before the Meeting 45
8 The Teacher Needs Help, bat Nobody Wants to Say So 49
9 The Least Trained Person and the Most Complex Children 53
10 Why They Care about Which Label They Give Your Child 59
11 The Perils of Doing Nothing: Lessons from Sandy Hook 65
Part 2 Moving Forward 73
12 You Have Rights 75
13 The Right to Ask for an Evaluation for Services 81
14 The Right to a Second Opinion 87
15 Counseling and Training Are Not Just for Kids 95
16 Discrimination, Retaliation, Intimidation, Oh My! 101
17 Procedural Safeguards 109
18 You Shouldn't Have to Pay for That 113
19 Can You Observe Your Child in School? 117
20 Scheduling IEP Meetings 125
21 Special Education Urban Legends Exposed 129
22 Getting Ready for Primetime: Transition to Adulthood 135
Part 3 Where the Rubber Meets the Road 141
23 Demystify the Paperwork 143
24 We Have a Form for That! 147
25 Bring Your A Game 153
26 Know the Players 161
27 Toothless IEP Language 167
28 Little-Understood IEP Essentials 173
29 Finding Your Advocacy Style 183
30 Best-Kept Secrets 187
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jennifer Laviano and Julie Swanson have covered many of the complex issues we navigate in special education advocacy. This book is a valuable resource and easily accessible for everyone. The "What you can do about it" pages in the book will inform and empower as it steps you through considerations for possible next steps when faced with challenging situations.