Volunteering isn’t for everyone. There are lots of reasons why it might not work for you: work schedules, taking care of your family, or maybe you just don’t want to do it.
But there are other ways to connect with people at your child’s school. See Ways to Build a Relationship With Your Child’s School for a list of ideas.
Yes, there are several. On our Government-Funded Organizations page, we’ve put together a list of some of the nonprofits and government agencies that help children with disabilities or special health-care needs and their families navigate legal, educational, and health-care systems. These organizations all receive government funding to be able to help families like yours.
If you think your child’s BIP just isn’t working, it needs to be adjusted. You can call the school and ask for a review meeting. See our page on Behavior Intervention Plans and Schools to learn more.
El objetivo de los planes de apoyo conductual positivos es ayudar a estos niños a reemplazar la conducta problemática con una que sea positiva. El BIP o BSP indica como los adultos que forman parte de la vida de tu hijo (los padres, los maestros, el personal escolar y otras personas que cuidan de él) le darán apoyo y le enseñarán las destrezas que necesita usar para tener una conducta positiva. Ve nuestra página sobre los [Planes de Intervención Conductual y las escuelas](link to: Behavior Intervention Plans and Schools page) para aprender más.
Special education is not a place but an umbrella of services with many ways to give our children the best education possible. It might mean learning in a general education classroom with special education services given right there, or learning with other peers who have disabilities, or a mixture of both. Visit our Special Education 101 page to learn more.
You can ask for the school district to evaluate your child for a learning difference, intellectual disability, or other disability that might affect your child’s ability to learn. You have the right to ask for this evaluation, even if a teacher or doctor has not yet recommended it. You must ask for this in writing, either as a letter or on a special form that your school district will give you if you ask. Visit our Your Child’s Right to a Public Education page to learn more.
The Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) is a specific meeting where teachers and other support staff bring their expertise on education, and you bring your expertise on your child – their needs, abilities, and desires, and your expectations. Together, you write the Individualized Education Program (IEP).
There is no document that impacts a child’s learning and school experience as much as the Individualized Education Program (IEP) (many parents refer to this as an Individualized Education Plan).
The IEP, usually updated 1 time a year, includes goals for your child written by you, teachers, and the staff who see your child every day. The meeting where the IEP is discussed and created or updated is called the Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD). Understanding how the ARD committee meeting works will help you create the best possible IEP for your child.
If your child needs extra help or accommodations at school, you might be able get help through a Section 504 plan. A 504 plan helps your child get accommodations (changes in how content is taught, supported, or tested) that will help them participate in the classroom or other school activities. Children might receive 504 services for many reasons. A few examples of 504 accommodations include: getting extra time on a test; sitting at the front of the class to reduce distractions; having a handrail or ramp installed in the school; having a test read to them; and classroom changes to manage food allergies.
The Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) can give children much-needed early help to get ready for kindergarten and the years beyond. PPCD is free through your child’s school district. It may include classroom services as well as speech, occupational, and physical therapies.
If your child qualifies for PPCD, they might be able to get special education services and therapies that can help them reach their Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals.
They can include:
*Your child might be able to get speech therapy by itself if it is the only special education service that they need.
Visit our Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) page to learn more.
There are 2 common paths for your child to get into PPCD:
Visit Getting Into the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) to find out more.
Accommodations change how the content is taught, made accessible, and / or tested. These accommodations may include adaptive and assistive devices and technology, sitting in the front of the class, reading materials printed in Braille or with large print fonts, and many more. See more at our Special Education 101 or Section 504 pages.
A child who has a learning disability does not process information in the same way as a typically developing child of the same age. By processing, we mean that a child hears, touches, sees, reads, or smells something that sends a message to their brains. Then, they make sense of what is going on and possibly take action. When a child has a processing difference or learning disability, the information might not flow to and from their brain and body as smoothly. It might get stuck or take a turn along the way.
If you or your child’s teachers suspect that your child might have a learning disability, it is worth checking it out further. After all, many people have learning disabilities – nearly 1 in 5 people have one. And with help, children with learning disabilities can be very successful in school and in life.
To find out how to get your public school to test for learning disabilities and get accommodations, see our page on special education services or Section 504. You can also learn more about getting started on our What to do if you Suspect Something is Different page.
If you are having trouble agreeing on assessments, accommodations, or plans with your child’s school and the district, you aren’t alone. And you do have rights. They’re clearly spelled out in the federal Notice of Procedural Safeguards. To find the steps for changing the program, visit our [When You’re Having Trouble Getting the Right Services for Your Child page.
Placement refers to the amount of time in each school day that a student spends in the resource or in a general education classroom. The school district is required to have a range of placements where your child can be taught, including in the general education classroom. Visit our Kinds of Educational Placements page to find out more.
Sometimes we don’t stop to consider that we have a choice when it comes to our child’s school. But most of us do have options, even within our public schools. There are 3 types of schools to consider: public schools (including charter schools), private schools, and homeschooling. And there are different choices within each one. Learn more about each on the School Choices page, so you can decide where your child will best learn and thrive.
If you can put records of all that you’ve learned about your child’s education into 1 organized place, it can help you work with the school district to make sure your child gets the services they need, help you monitor your child’s progress, and be an informed partner in developing an IEP or 504 plan. Many people find it helpful to create a notebook that is a 1-stop shop for everything related to their children’s education needs. This can be a 3-ring binder or stored on a tablet, computer, or phone. For more tips, visit our Organizing School Records page.
Children receiving special education services must have a transition plan as part of their IEP by age 14 or earlier, if their Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee thinks it is necessary. Some children might begin vocational (job) training in middle school. Visit our Transitioning Out of Public Education page for more tips.
There are certain questions that are helpful to ask when your child is in high school. These include:
Answering these questions helps your child get the right Individualized Education Program (IEP) and transition plan. It will help them make choices that support what they want to do after high school. Visit Transitioning Out of Public Education to learn more.