Many parents contact me for support in navigating the Special Education system. It is confusing and complicated for even the most informed people. At times you may even feel that you are at odds with the very people who are supposed to be helping your child.
The resources in these pages will help guide you through the many mazes of getting help. You will find some basic information that answers the questions I am asked most frequently. You will also find a number of links to additional resources for more in-depth information. Always, please feel free to contact me with specific questions about your child’s case.
How Do I Get Help?
Most schools have a variety of supports available for students. These supports often represent a hierarchy of intensity, from more general supports offered to all students, to more specific supports individualized for one student.
Below are the most common ways to access support for your child. Click on the links for an expanded explanation of each level of support.
- Student Study Teams (SST): A problem-solving team including the parents, teacher, principal and other school staff to understand the child’s challenges and create a plan for support within the general education class.
- Response to Intervention (RTI): A systematic process of identifying where learning breaks down and intervening before the child has failed. RTI aims to teach students the specific skills they need to overcome challenges at the first sign of struggle. This is also a general education support.
- 504 Plan: An individualized plan for students with disabilities who need modifications and accommodations within the general education classroom in order to access their education. Many students with a 504 Plan have a disability but do not need the intensity of Special Education in order to learn.
- Special Education or IEP: Students who have a disability and who are showing significant struggles in their learning may qualify for the most individualized types of supports. Within Special Education, students may access increasingly intensive levels of support as the team sees necessary.
Private Schools: If your child attends a private school, you still have a right to a free assessment from the public school district. Please click here for more information.
If you have been directed to this page for a specific resource, you may find it below.
- Letter Template for Requesting a Special Education or 504 Assessment
- 504 Plan vs Special Education: What’s the Difference?
- At a Glance: Your Rights in the 504 Plan Process from Understood.org
- At a Glance: Your Rights in the Special Education Process from Understood.org
- Understanding Special Education from Understood.org
- Private School and Special Education from Understood.org
These pages are meant to explain these concepts in plain language and is not meant to be exhaustive. If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.