Resources for Families


Resources for Families

Families & Caregivers

Parents/caregivers, critically important in the education of all students, are especially so in the education of students with special needs.  Fortunately, much of the parental role is codified in law and local school district policy.

The Special Education Support Center website is designed to assist families/caregivers in understanding the rules & regulations, and accessing resources to help them be partners in the education process.

To this end, the WEA Special Education Support Center has produced comprehensive manual in layman’s language, to explain the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as it applies to Washington – Special Education in Washington State: a handbook for parents and educators.

Parents’ Rights & Responsibilities

Parents of students eligible for special education services have legal rights which are defined in Federal and State regulations. Parent rights fall into three general categories:

  • The right to be notified of any actions taken by the district regarding special education.
  • The right to consent or refuse consent for evaluation and provision of special education.
  • The right to resolve disagreements with the district using due process procedures.

In addition the student has a right to a Free Appropriate Public Education.

In Washington State the regulations are in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). All special education regulations begin with 392-172A and then have an extension of numbers identifying each regulation. These regulations define the parents’ rights, the students’ rights and other regulations which direct the actions of school districts.

Procedural Safeguards

The OSPI Procedural Safeguards, adopted August 2007, is a document for parents, surrogate parents, and adult students. The school district that provides your child with special education services is required by federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Act – IDEA, to provide you with written notice of your procedural safeguards, and provide sources to help you understand them.

Family Guidance

These pages are dedicated to providing students and families with information about special education, to ensuring that students and families know about their rights, and to answer questions they may have about how the process works.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings

What is an IEP meeting?  An IEP meeting is a meeting between the school district personnel and the parents/caregivers or adult student to decide the special education and related services that a student will recieve. The IEP is a document which is designed to clearly communicate to the parents, the student, and providers the type and amount of special education and any necessary related services or supports that will be made available to the student.  The most recent evaluation report is used to develop the IEP.  The IEP is individualized to reflect the unique needs of the student and how these needs will be addressed to permit the student to be included and progress in the general education curriculum. Sample State Forms for the Individual Educational Program proivde additional insight into the contents of the IEP.

These two IEP forms provide clear expectations for the content of the IEP and the purpose for each section.

Improving Academics

National Center for Learning Disabilities

Provides information to assist parents to work with their child and the school to improve academic performance. The information is listed under Topics by Age and is divided into Early Learning (preK), Grades K-8, and grades 9-12. For High School students the center provides information to assist students with self advocacy and preparation for life after High School.

Great Schools

Provides information for parents to help students develop basic skills including, organizational skills, homework and other essential skills for improved school performance; including assistance for parents which enables them to provide children help in homework, test taking and notetaking.

Managing ADD/HD

A series of articles provided by Great Schools to support families and others working with students with Attention Deficit or Hyperactive Disorders.

Parenting Advice

Parenting Advice provides information for parents on a variety of parenting issues including building self esteem and resiliency in children.

Understood.Org provides support and information for parents dealing with children with Learning and Attention issues, including parent support for Teen and Tween youth as they begin dating and working..

Assistive Technology

  • Great Schools provides information on several assistive technology devices to improve student learning opportunities.
  • The National Center on Universal Design for Learning provides Principles and guidelines for overcoming barriers to learning, including assistive technology supports for students.
  • Special Education Tech Center provides support and resources for any student, preschool through age 21, who formally receives special education services and who may require assistive technology to access their education
  • has a clear description of the process for determining the need and types of assistive technology which may prove helpful for students.

Planning for College and Alternatives:

Great Schools offers advice and strategies for parents helping teens prepare for transition into education after High School.

The DO-IT Project Scholars prepares young people with disabilities for college, careers, independent living, and leadership roles in society. DO-IT Scholars:

  • explore careers and the world of work.
  • learn to select and use adaptive technology, applications software, and Internet resources.
  • experience college life on a university campus in the summer.
  • learn about reasonable accommodations at school and in the workplace.
  • network with peers and working professionals with disabilities.
  • gain requisite knowledge to enter and succeed in college and challenging careers.
  • participate in leadership opportunties that promote accessible environments, worksites, and community activities.

If any of the terminology in these resources leaves you wondering what it means, you might find help in the Lexicon of Learning.  This online dictionary, a Lexicon of Learning, provides clear definitions of education terms in everyday language.

And, of course, if you have questions or cannot find the resource you are looking for, please Contact Us.

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