Navigating the Special Education System is extremely complex and overwhelming. As parents, we need to be armed with the proper tools to be our child’s best advocate. Here are some resources that can help. Parents must know the rights their children are entitled to.
Advocates for Children – Turning 5: A Guide to Transition from Preschool Education to Kindergarten. This document is about 30 pages and walks you through the process. The document also lists the contact information for CSE within the 5 boroughs of New York City. Advocates for Children can also provide legal service for families – however, services are based on financial need. (It is my understanding that a family of 5 needs to be in the 50,000 annual income range.) Please note there is a disclaimer: This guide does not constitute legal advice. This guide attempts to summarize existing policies or laws without stating the opinion of AFC.
Advocates for Children – A Guide to Special Education
“Creating a Quality IEP” – Individualized Education Program Manual. Another long document, but it takes you through the requirements and roles of the IEP. As a the parent, you are an equal part of the IEP. Sometimes I think administrators forget that and see you as a more of a formality rather than a voice. Never forget that you have as much of a say as they do. You know your child best. You’ve seen your child in every environment: school, home, with children, alone, with therapists. You have an advantage that no one else in the room has.
Part 200 (Student with Disabilities) and Part 201 (Procedural Safeguards for Students with Disabilities Subject to Discipline). This has been extremely helpful; it is a PDF of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. (I found the link here.) The document is long (about 200 pgs) but it’s important to look through. It goes through Due Process Procedures and the Board of Education Responsibilities and Definitions. I’ve noted sections in letters to CPSE administrators. Let them know that you know the law.
Please note the disclaimer: These Rules of the Regents and Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (“regulations”) are unofficial, and are presented for general informational purposes as a public service.