Students with Disabilities

General Special Education Information

Kansas Student Support Services (Special Education): This is the office in the State Department of Education dedicated to meeting the needs of exceptional students in Kansas. Useful information includes the state special education regulations, guidelines for accommodations for students with disabilities on the state assessments, and state special education statistics.

Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice (CECP): CECP focuses on the needs of children with or at risk of developing severe emotional disturbance. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs. This link takes you its section on Schools and Special Education. There are not a huge number of special education resources here, but there is a nice module on “Students with Emotional Disturbance” and resources on IDEA and functional behavioral assessments. Be sure to check out the other sections on juvenile justice, mental health, school violence prevention, and more.

Council for Exceptional Children (CEC): Geared more towards special education professionals, though the information is still useful for parents. Plenty of information on gifted special education. Emphasis on following developments in IDEA. Site features professional development and professional standards resources.

Families and Advocates Partnership for Education (FAPE): The FAPE website is run by PACER. Its main feature is information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). However, the IDEA information has not been updated for years—there is nothing available on the IDEA 2004 Reauthorization on this site. They do offer a fairly extensive parent resources section, with simple, nicely done handouts on special education and general education topics. Some information is available in Spanish, Hmong, and Somali.

LD Online: This website is a service of a public television station in Washington D.C. It provides information from experts, parents, and kids about helping people with learning disabilities and ADHD. The resources are useful for anyone involved in special education, though. Be sure to check out the “LD in Depth” section for more articles and reports. LD Online offers resources geared specifically to parents, kids, teachers, and volunteers. Some information is available in Spanish.

Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA): Nice, easy to use site. Provides resources specifically geared towards parents, teachers, professionals, and adults. Features legislative updates and an online course for parents on IDEA 2004—free to LDA members.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY): A wonderful site with more great information on disabilities and special education than you could probably ever read. Make sure to look through all parts of the site so you don’t miss anything. Some information is available in Spanish.

Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP): OSEP is a division of the federal Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). OSEP resources include publications, national studies, grants and funding, and national special education statistics. Links to resources are found at the bottom of the page, not in the green and brown box at the top.

Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER): “The PACER Center’s mission is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life for children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents.” PACER is the founding organization of other related programs, such as the National ALLIANCE for Parent Centers and Families and Advocates Partnership for Education (FAPE). This site has exhaustive special education resources, but it also provides information on related topics like juvenile justice, mental health, physical health, and more. Some information is available in Spanish, Hmong, Laotian and Somali.

Resources on Special Education, IEPS, IDEA, and Section 504: This is a parent-run web page. Parents can find suggestions for modifications to use on an IEP or Section 504 plan, links to various special education-related web sites, tips for parents on IEP and Section 504 meetings, an extensive list of common abbreviations used in the special education world, an ADD/ADHD/LD web page, and directories by state of parent training and information centers and state special education directors. There is not a ton of information on this page, but parents will find what is there useful.

Sample Letters for Communicating About Special Education: A great resource for all parents of special needs students. Sample letters of all sorts: requesting special education evaluation, requesting an IEP team meeting, requesting school records, and more. A page for all parents of children with disabilities to bookmark.

Schwab Learning: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Kids with Learning Difficulties: Schwab Learning is a non-profit organization that focuses on the social, emotional and educational needs of children with learning and attention problems. The whole site is geared towards parents. Lots of original articles as well as links to other good, useful sites. Some information is available in Spanish.

Special Education News: This page is primarily geared towards special education teachers. It offers special education news updates, web page links, and suggested reading lists on topics like Behavior Management, Conflict Resolution, Early Intervention, and Transition. Interesting features of the site are the State-by-State and Washington Watch news sections. Parents and families can certainly find this information useful, and there is a “For Families” section that also has web pages and news for kids.

Technical Assistance ALLIANCE for Parent Centers: This is the organization that provides technical assistance to all the Parent Training and Information (PTI) and Parent Information and Resource Centers (PIRC) in the country. As the technical assistance hub for these organizations, the ALLIANCE’s site features extensive resources on NCLB, IDEA, scientifically based research, and general disabilities education. Some information is available in Spanish, Hmong, and Somali.

U.S. Department of Education Disabilities Resources: The U.S. Department of Education’s links to governmental agencies, articles, and other resources related to special education.

Wrightslaw: Huge, extensive special education law and advocacy resource site. Many of the resources were written especially for Wrightslaw—i.e. you won’t find many duplicate documents here that you have found on other websites. This site is also unique because it provides both practical information that anyone can use, as well as more complex information like the laws, regulations, and court cases related to special education.

Assistive Technology

The Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD): FCTD is affiliated with PACER and is funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education. They provide information to organizations that help children and families with disabilities. The website offers an extensive library of materials related to assistive technology in special education, which can be searched according to assistive technology topics and disability categories. Visitors can also search FCTD’s member organizations, read their monthly Assistive Technology newsletters, participate in online discussions, read assistive technology success stories, learn about assistive technology terms and laws, and browse links to useful sites.

Early Childhood Special Education

National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC): NECTAC is the national hub of early childhood special education. It supports the implementation of the early childhood provisions of IDEA 2004. The information on this site is generally geared more towards professionals in the field of early childhood special education. However, parents may be interested in the “Topics” section, which provides explanations of and information on a long list of topics related to IDEA and early childhood. Click here for NECTAC information in Spanish.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 -- Special Education Law

Full text of IDEA 2004 legislation from Congress

NOTE: Since the U.S. Department of Education has not yet issued regulatory guidance on the 2004 changes to IDEA, the following links connect to information that ONLY represents the opinion of the author.

The Arc: This site features the schedule for the public hearings that will be held on the proposed IDEA 2004 regulations. This site also has links to a number of good IDEA 2004 analyses that are not linked from other pages.

Comparison of IEPs in IDEA 1997 and IDEA 2004: This comparison chart was done by TASH, an organization that works for full inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society.

Council for American Private Education: Provides an analysis of how changes to IDEA will affect students who attend private schools.

Council for Exceptional Children: The CEC offers links to the text of the law, as well as related documents and commentary from the CEC.

IDEA 2004 Summary from PACER: A really nice, easy-to-understand analysis of the major changes to IDEA.

Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center: An excellent section-by-section analysis by attorney Elena Gallegos of key changes made to IDEA by the 2004 reauthorization. A very useful resource.

National Association of School Psychologists: This site has a few useful resources, such as links to the text, an analysis of changes, a user’s guide, and resources related to the original IDEA.

National Center on Secondary Education and Transition: Links to analysis of IDEA 2004 and information about upcoming events and trainings related to IDEA 2004.

National School Boards Association: The target audience for this website is obviously school board members. However, the information provides the perspective on IDEA 2004 from inside the education system. NSBA offers its comments and recommendations on changes to the law, an issue brief, and a reference guide to IDEA 2004 for local school board members.

NICHCY: NICHCY provides news on IDEA 2004, links to text of the law, links to the draft regulations, and OSEP-reviewed materials on IDEA 2004. Additionally, there are OSEP-revised materials and training materials on IDEA 1997.

Topic by Topic Comparison of IDEA 1997 and IDEA 2004: A comparison chart of the two versions of the law done by Margaret Key, Ed. D., psychologist.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative
Services (OSERS):
Not much information is available here yet. As regulations are made, this will become more useful. Check out the links to the federally sponsored Technical Assistance Centers.

User’s Guide to IDEA 2004: This is a very detailed analysis of changes made to IDEA 2004 from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). It is not the most user-friendly guide because of this detail--it goes section-by-section and word-by-word through the changes.

Wrightslaw Resources on IDEA 2004: Wrightslaw provides articles and news items related to IDEA 2004, as well as links to the text of the law.

Special Education Mediation

CADRE: Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education: CADRE is funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs. It “encourages the use of mediation and other collaborative strategies to resolve disagreements about special education and early intervention programs.” The website offers a variety of useful resources on dispute resolution, special education, and parent-school involvement. CADRE is an invaluable resource for all parents of children in special education. Information is available in Spanish.