Being a parent of a child who requires special education can be difficult, especially without a support system. Many schools and districts don’t have the resources to provide the help or education that can make a difference. There are places you can find information and support to make special parenting a little easier. Here’s a look at a few resources for parents of children who require special education.
Special Education Websites
Understood: For Learning and Attention Issues is a website that aims to “empower parents.” Rather than throwing a bunch of information at you, you choose the problems you and your child are facing along with the age group of your child. From time management to making friends, Understood provides resources for dealing with all types of problems, school and non-school related, in a way specific to your child’s needs. It also provides information about the special education system, such as the differences in IEPs and 504 plans. What’s more, the site has live experts and links to helpful groups, blogs, and other community resources.
FamilyEducation is another great website for parents—and not just those of special education kids. From the pregnancy months to the teenage years, FamilyEducation provides resources from bullying and behavioral problems to homeschooling and health. They also provide information about special education, with a slew of articles about how to know when children require special education and other school-related articles. Some of their articles are written by experts, and help you deal with more than just school problems. Whether you are looking for information about at home activities or educational laws, FamilyEducation also has links to help you stay connected and through their blogs and newsletters.
Special Education Organizations
Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK) is a nonprofit organization out of California “that specializes in special education and assistive technology support for the families of children with disabilities and the professionals who serve them.” If you’re feeling overwhelmed about navigating the special education system, TASK can help you get in contact with the right people. They also “provide information, training, and resources so that parents learn how to help themselves.” TASK gives workshops, provides one-on-one assistance over the phone or in person, and otherwise works to make sure disabled children receive a quality education and parents receive the support necessary to make that happen.
FamilyVoices is less focused on special education in schools and more focused on the healthcare needs of those children. Many disabled children have extra medical expenses that can become time consuming, expensive, and exhausting. Their goal is to provide resources to families to help them make healthcare decisions that are family-centered, eventually helping the child to make those decisions on their own. You can find a lot of great information on their website that can help you find the healthcare resources you’re looking for to help your special child.
There are dozens of organizations that are dedicated to specific disabilities and diseases. These societies can help you find the right doctors and counselors, teach you about specific ways to help empower and educate your child, and put you in contact with other families who are sharing your experiences. Networking through social media is another great way to find other parents doing their best to understand special education and provide their child with all the right things.