The special education process is unknown territory for most parents. Parents are at a disadvantage in the school meetings where the policies, procedures, laws, and language of special education are known to every committee member except them. While some schools are very helpful with the special education procedures, others withhold information, leaving parents feeling lost.
For every parent who is able to obtain special education for her child on her own, another is unsuccessful. Too many parents decide they can go it alone and figure they will spend the money for an advocate if things do not turn out their way. This can be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Saving the money by not hiring an advocate costs your child another year of not getting her educational needs meet.
Parents can best obtain special education by seeking consult before the 504 or IEP meeting with a special education advocate. These specialists know the special education laws. They know the school district personnel, what services are available, how to interpret the assessment results, and can advise you regarding your child’s needs. They accompany you to the school meetings, speak on your behalf, and are very successful at getting your child the services he needs.