Dear Parents,

SPED, IDEA, IEP, BIP, FBA……. Sometimes all the acronyms run together and it can be difficult to know what is what!

When we advocate for our kids, knowing some of the basics about IEPs and 504s can help navigate a complicated system and think about what kind of support is available. Truth be told – not every child with a disability qualifies for Special Education. But, for many, a 504 might be a great step!

As you begin to communicate with school staff, ask what kinds of academic and behavioral supports are available for all students.

A few things to keep in mind…

-Special Education laws apply to public schools – State laws around charter schools vary widely, and private schools are not obligated to offer Special Education. However, many charter and private schools do have some supports available for students – ask what they offer!

-The benefit of IEPs and 504s are the legally binding nature of them – they hold everyone accountable. AND, they’re created in close collaboration with parents. If someone is creating an IEP or a 504 that you don’t understand or agree with, SPEAK UP and ask questions. You are your child’s best advocate!

-Remember, many schools, special education teachers, and other administrators are doing their very best to meet the MANY complex needs of their students. Advocate strongly, with LOTS of compassion and understanding for the professionals involved!

Ask questions, be persistent, and hold on to hope-

Becca McKay, LMSW, LSSW, Program Manager ETC Institute


Categories: News

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