Entering your child with special needs into the public school system can be overwhelming. The Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) provision of special education law ensures that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled. School is important for every child, helping to create social skills and preparing them for adulthood (also see Jobs). The school system is required to provide specially designed instruction (SDI), at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities stated that this may include instruction in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other setting. Special education services may include speech-language pathology services, occupational therapy, physical therapy or any other related service, travel training, and vocational education.
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written document for each child with a disability which outlines the specially designed instruction, services, goals, accommodations, modifications and transition services a student’s program will entail. The information, goals and services within the IEP are based on the results of the evaluation, which determines eligibility or the results of a re-evaluation. The IEP is created through the collaborative efforts of the IEP team which includes the parents of the student, regular education teacher(s), special education teacher(s), administrative designee, someone who can interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results, and any other knowledgeable person requested by the parents or school, and the student, if appropriate.
Center for Parent Information and Resources: IDEA – The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Description: This website provides detailed information about The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The IDEA was set in place in 1975 to ensure that children with disabilities were provided a free appropriate education, just like other children.
Center for Parent Information and Resources: All About the IEP
Description: This gives an easy to understand explanation of the Individualized Education Plan or IEP process.
Description: Web site that provides accurate, up-to-date information about special education law and advocacy.
Transition Planning and College for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Description: Successful transition planning and issues for college attendance for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder are highlighted.
Planning to Transition to College, a Trade or Technical School
Description: Site has lots of links with good information about continuing education after high school.
Special Education Lawyers
Description: When is it time to hire a special education lawyer?
Beyond High School: The Transition
Description: Interactive Autism Network provides useful information for young adults with autism who are transitioning beyond high school.
National Center for Learning Disabilities
Description: The National Center for Learning Disabilities which provides all the information you need to understand the Special Education Process.
Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.
Forum/Blog Name: The Wrightslaw Way to Special Education Law and Advocacy
Description: Blog to find information and discuss special education and legal issues.
Forum/Blog Name: Seattle Schools Community Forum
Description: This forum focuses on news, issues, and inclusion in Seattle schools.
Forum/Blog Name: Autism and the Individual Education Plan (IEP)
Description: Support group to discuss IEPs.
Forum/Blog Name: Sensory Friends
Description: Sensory Friends is a blog that provides technical assistance to self-advocates, parents, educators and professionals on the special education processes and best practices for increasing student achievement with effective parent involvement.