The Special Education system is often a stressful and confusing maze of laws, acronyms, and rights. How do you ensure that your child has the supports and services they need to be successful in their educational endeavors? Knowledge and understanding of the rights guaranteed under the Federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) is key and the best weapon you can have in your advocacy tool kit.
One of the best resources is from Disability Rights California is a federally mandated, non-profit organization established to protect and advocate for the human, civil and service rights of Californians with developmental disabilities. Staffed by attorneys and advocates, they have the most comprehensive collection information related to California Special Education, including an online version of “Special Education Rights and Responsibilities”. Publications available in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish and many other languages. See the link below.
Equity and the Impact of COVID on Special Education
The impacts of the COVID-19 fell disproportionately on students who went into the pandemic with the fewest educational opportunities, many of whom are from marginalized and underserved communities including those in special education. Lack of internet, computers, special education services, and the inability to attend to online learning were just a few of the challenges. The Autism Society Inland Empire continues to advocate with local and state policymakers, and educate families on services they have access to.
Federal Report (June 2021) Education in a Pandemic – Education in a Pandemic: The Disparate Impacts of COVID-19 on America’s Students (PDF) Observations from the report include impacts of the pandemic on both K-12 and postsecondary education students, including how COVID-19 has deepened pre-pandemic disparities in access and opportunities facing students of color, multilingual learners, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ students, with significant impacts on their learning.