"I learned that with a
little patience and a network of info and providers, we are our child's
strongest advocate. Advocating can be
challenging, what keeps us strong? Remembering...We DON'T have
the burden of raising a special needs child...
The first step to advocating for your child is to
know your rights, and the laws that protect them:
- The right to full partnership with your child's
providers in planning for your child's future,
- The right to question decisions made concerning
- The right to an appropriate education for your
child at public expense,
- The right to inspect and challenge your child's
- The right for your child to receive all the benefits
and privileges granted to average children,
- The right to a due process hearing when you do
not agree with school placement decisions, to name a few...
Source: How to Get Services by Being Assertive,
published by Family
Resource Center on Disabilities.
The right to be in public school continues until age 21 (and until
end of that school year)
For Exceptional Children www.cec.sped.org/pp/idea-a.htm
Legal Aid lists several programs available for families
Special Ed is "Dedicated to Helping the Parents of Illinois
Special Education Children". They have info on Parents Groups, Child
Advocates, Resource Organizations, Special Education Lawyers, and
Remember: Your child has the right to attend school
in the Least
Restrictive Environment that he/she can successfully learn in. You
also have the right to stop an IEP meeting at any point of
disagreement, with the right to reconvene at a later date (after
you've had the chance to gather more info/support, etc.).
Additional steps to take throughout the year are:
attend seminars, join parenting
groups, prepare for and attend all IEP meetings, get to know your
child's providers and school staff, volunteer in their classroom if
possible, and exercise your right to vote.