Spring is in the air, and you know what that means — it’s time to prepare for your child’s IEP or 504 plan meeting.
Whether you’re just getting started or you’re an old pro, it’s always a good idea to get your game plan ready ahead of time.
To help alleviate the stress that can go along with IEP meetings, here’s a roundup of some useful resources that can strengthen your IEP/504 plan toolkit and help you be your child’s best educational advocate.
A Teacher's Guide to Neuromuscular Disease
MDA booklet; also available in Spanish. A good resource for parents as well as teachers. Contact your local office to request a copy.
Learning to Live with Neuromuscular Disease: A Message for Parents
MDA booklet; also available in Spanish. Contact your local office to request a copy.
MDA school advocacy resources and webinars
Here’s a selection of some helpful Quest articles:
The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child, 7th ed., by Lawrence M. Siegel, 2011. NOLO, (800) 728-3555.
NOLO’s IEP Guide: Learning Disabilities, 5th edition, by Lawrence M. Siegel, 2011. NOLO, (800) 728-3555.
A Parent’s Guide to Special Education, by Linda Wilmshurst and Alan W. Brue, 2005. Amacom, (800) 262-9699.
Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy — The Special Education Survival Guide, 2nd edition, and Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd edition, by Pam Wright and Pete Wright, 2006. Harbor House Law Press, (877) 529-4332.
Alliance for Technology Access
This site serves a national network of ATA technology resource centers.
Association on Higher Education and Disability
AHEAD addresses relevant issues in postsecondary education.
The world’s largest online library of accessible books and periodicals is free for students with qualified print disabilities, which include difficulty holding a book or turning pages. The site offers more than 60,000 books, textbooks and teacher-recommended reading in accessible formats.
Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
The site offers information about universal design practices for the classroom, and accessible curriculum and digital technologies.
Council for Exceptional Children
A site aimed at special education professionals, it promotes skills development and special ed advocacy.
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA)
A nonprofit organization of attorneys, advocates, parents and other professionals working to "protect special education rights and secure excellence in education on behalf of the 7.1 million children with disabilities in America." The site offers a "find an attorney/advocate" feature that's searchable by state.
In the search box, enter "Individualized Education Plan." This excellent site is frequently updated with links to up-to-date information about all topics related to disability. Inlcudes outcomes of studies, information about laws, manuals and guides, and much more.
ERIC Clearinghouse (Educational Resources Information Center)
ERIC provides free access to more than 1.2 million bibliographic records of journal articles and other education-related materials, including information on students with disabilities.
Family Center on Technology and Disability
The site provides fact sheets about assistive technology and IEPs.
Family Resource Center on Disabilities
FRCD provides information and referral services, transition services, and training to families of children with any disability or chronic illness, from birth through age 22. Located in Chicago, it is staffed by parents of children with disabilities trained in special education law. In addition to the website, the organization offers free, confidential phone consultations and training.
HEATH Resource Center
This national clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities is managed by The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Resources. The center’s resource papers, fact sheets, guides and directories focus on accessibility, classroom and laboratory adaptations, financial aid, independent living, postsecondary education, vocational education and more.
The IDEA Partnership website “facilitates interaction and shared work across professional and family organizations around common interests.” The site provides tools, tips and guides to creating collaborative local action around the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Hosted by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the site aims to be a "one-stop shop" for resources related to IDEA and implementation of the regulations released August 3, 2006.
International Do-It Center
The site is focused on universal design and assistive technology in education.
A wealth of easy-to-use information for parents, kids and teens. The site includes a selection of education-related topics, including IEPs.
Learning Disabilities Association of America
National Assistive Technology Technical Assistance Partnership
Locate State Assistive Technology Act programs for assistance with locating AT devices and services in your area.
National Association of Private Special Education Centers
National Center on Educational Outcomes
NCEO focuses on creating educational assessments and accountability systems that appropriately monitor educational results for all students, including students with disabilities and English language learners. The site offers resources for state personnel, educators and parents, such as recommendations for developing assessment policies and guidelines for participation, accommodations, reporting and accountability.
National Center for Learning Disabilities
The site features a parent center with resources, guides and publications. Search for the “Parent Toolkit: IEP Basics for Parents of Students with LD.”
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
The center helps guide students with disabilities and their families as they plan for life after high school. A partnership among six transition/special education organizations, it is hosted by the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota and funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs.
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
The NICHCY website, available in English and Spanish, focuses on children and youth with disabilities from birth to age 22, and is designed for families, educators, administrators, journalists and students. In addition to offering detailed resources on early intervention, special education, IEPs, transition issues and federal laws, NICHCY provides a toll-free number (800-695-0285) staffed by a team of bilingual research and information specialists who can address individual questions and concerns.
National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities
NDPC-SD provides links to teleseminars and e-news.
National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center
NECTAC focuses on early childhood technical assistance, with the goal of improving “service systems and outcomes for children and families.” Geared toward service coordinators, the site is open to all. It is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
National Library Service
NLS loans recorded and Braille books and magazines, music scores and playback equipment to people with visual or physical impairments.
Parent Information Centers/Parent Advisory Councils
Contact your school district special education office or state department of education.
Protection and Advocacy Systems
For special education, click on the “Issues” tab, and select Education. NDRN is the membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP). Collectively, the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.
Section 504 Plans — Rehabilitation Act
Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers
Find parent training and information centers using a state-by-state directory.
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Search for “A Guide to the Individualized Education Program” and “Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004.”
Wrightslaw is the work of Pete and Pam Wright, adjunct professors of law at William and Mary Law School. The site offers a wide variety of resources, including a searchable advocacy library and special education law library containing thousands of articles, cases and resources about IDEA 2004 and other special education issues. Wrightslaw also offers a blog and e-newsletter.
Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities
Search by state for independent educational evaluators, consultants, therapists, advocates and attorneys.