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Your Special Education Rights: What Your School District Isn't Telling You Hardcover – August 15, 2017
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"With this book, Jennifer and Julie make the IEP process a little less scary, by providing real, step-by-step examples of how to navigate the world of special education. This is the book I wish existed when my son was diagnosed with autism fourteen years ago, as it would have served as an invaluable resource for my advocacy on his behalf. A must-have for all parents of children receiving special education services!" —Shannon Knall, Wisconsin Autism Council
"There are many books out there about special education rights, but this one stands out among the best. Jen and Julie bring decades of their collective wisdom to the table and it shows. They guide us through a complicated and confusing world that's wrought with jargon, misconceptions and steaming emotions, all while simultaneously injecting levity at exactly the right moments. . . . It’s this combination of passion, professionalism, and personality that makes Your Special Education Rights worth a read.” —David DesRoches, journalist, WNPR
"What most special education parents want and need—a comprehensive but practical guide that not only discusses the law but also “What Your School District Isn’t Telling You” and “What You Can Do About It.” . . . I highly recommend this book not only to parents, but really to anyone involved in special education." —Mona Roy, attorney and mother of two special education children
"In my position as an administrator at a school for students with learning disabilities, I receive at least one request per week from families of students with LD asking what their rights are in the public-school setting and what the procedures are for exercising them. I’ve long wished that I could refer those families (and related professionals) to a single resource. That resource has arrived. . . . Every parent of a student with LD in the US school system should keep handy a copy of this surprisingly clear guide to emotionally fraught terrain." —Kevin Pendergast, head of school, the Kildonan School
About the Author
Julie Swanson is a special education advocate whose practice grew out of her efforts to help her son. As an advocate, she helps parents navigate the special education process, including attending IEP and Section 504 meetings. She speaks frequently on special education matters and has a long-standing history of service on special education–related state boards, task forces, and legislative appointments to state councils.
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While a book like this can only claim to cover the federal legislation (individual state laws and interpretations may differ), it does a great job of framing the requirements the federal legislation imposes on states and localities. For example, if you want to review a copy of your child's educational records, the book explains that they cannot deny your request. The federal requirements state they must provide you access, and it must be within a 'reasonable time'; while our local school district defines the time frame as within 15 days, the book is clear they must provide the access and not drag their feet doing so.
I find this book so helpful I've started ordering copies for friends whose kids are on the cusp of needing Special Education support to help them understand how to navigate the process and the school system. If you need to understand how to proceed through the 504/IEP process sitting across the table from school officials who are well versed in the law (or might not be well versed, to your child's detriment), I strongly recommend this book.
This is the go to. This is where to start. It gave me the strength, courage, and knowledge to be the advocate I’ve always needed to be for my child.
Your school district will treat you very differently once you are armed with this information.