You are your own best advocate by learning about the special education process. For a number of Texas Education Agency resources related to Advocacy and Special Education Law, go to:
- Texas Project FIRST (Region 9 ESC) - We believe that you are your own best advocate. Use our website to learn the special education process and use the ARD Agenda to assist you in the meeting. If you need to bring an advocate to your meeting with you – read more here.
- A Guide to the Admissions, Review, and Dismissal Process (Region 18 ESC) - Under the IDEA, parents are given a large level of participation at every stage of the process. This resource guide is designed to give you, as the parent of a child who may be eligible for special education services, a better understanding of the special education process and of your procedural rights and responsibilities so that you will be able to fully participate in the decision-making process regarding your child’s education.
- Notice of Procedural Safeguards: Rights of Parents of Children with Disabilities (Region 18 ESC) - The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as amended in 2004, requires schools to provide to parents of a child with a disability with a notice containing a full explanation of the procedural safeguards available under the IDEA and its implementing regulations. This document, produced by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), is intended to meet this notice requirement and help parents of children with disabilities understand their rights under the IDEA.
- The Legal Framework for the Child Centered Special Education Process (Region 18 ESC) - The Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process is a template in an electronic format that summarizes state and federal requirements for special education by topic. The Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process is a Texas Education Agency project under the state leadership of Region 18 Education Service Center with the support and staff participation from each of the other regional ESCs.
- Partners Resource Network - The Texas statewide network of Parent Training and Information Centers (PTI's funded by the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The PTI Projects are: PATH, PEN, and TEAM. The Texas PTIs provide training, education, information, referral, emotional support, and individual assistance in obtaining appropriate services. In addition, PRN serves as one of OSEP’s six Regional Parent Technical Assistance Centers (RPTAC) and works with Parent Centers in eight states and 2 territories.
- Special Education Information Center (SPEDTex) - SPEDTex delivers accurate and timely answers to questions about special education in Texas. Specialists are available to help by phone (1-855-SPED-TEX), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or live chat (http://www.spedtex.org).
- Special Education Rules and Regulations (Region 18 ESC) - This TEA document provides Federal Regulations, Commissioner’s/SBOE Rules, and State Laws related to special education in a side-by-side format.
- Special Education in Texas A-Z Index (Texas Education Agency) - This index provides a full range of special education-related topics with links to information on the TEA website.
Disability Rights Texas - The website of Disability Rights Texas (formerly Advocacy, Inc.) whose mission is “to advocate for, protect, and advance the legal, human, and service rights of people with disabilities”. This site provides information about Disability Rights Texas’ priorities, services and publications. It also includes the most recent issue of their newsletter, handouts on a number of issues, and related web links. The website and handouts are available in both English and Spanish.
Americans with Disabilities Act - This is the Americans with Disabilities Act home page maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice/Civil Rights Div. The site includes ADA information, resources and web links; information on ADA enforcement and case settlements; regional status reports; and a toll free information hot line.
Americans with Disabilities Act Document Center - Contains copies of the ADA, ADA Regulations, technical assistance manuals and web links.
ADA National Network - This site provides information on ADA as well as federal contacts; supreme court decisions; ADA publications and other disability resources; and more.
ADAPT - (American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today). ADAPT is dedicated to “fighting so people with disabilities can live in the community with real supports instead of being locked away in nursing homes and other institutions.” The site includes information about MiCASSA (the Medicaid Community Attendant Services and Supports Act) and more.
CADRE - (National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education). It provides information on various dispute resolution options; state specific mediation information; a database of special ed. conflict resolution specialists; and more.
Center for an Accessible Society - The web site of the Center for an Accessible Society whose function is to focus public attention on disability and independent living issues by disseminating information developed through the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates - COPAA is an “independent, non-profit, tax exempt organization of attorneys, advocates and parents established to improve the quality and quantity of legal assistance for parents of children with disabilities.”
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities - CTD is a grassroots, cross- disability organization advocating for the civil rights of Texans with disabilities.
Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities - CCD “is a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations working together to advocate for national public policy” on behalf of people with disabilities. The site includes legislative issues, task forces, and CCD press releases and testimonies.
DREDF - This is the web site of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF). They are a national law and policy center dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities through legislation, litigation, advocacy, technical assistance, and education.
EDLAW Inc. - This site provides information on EDLAW Inc. (a company that “provides information on legal developments in special education”) and its publications; the EDLAW Center (a non-profit organization that “develops and sponsors projects for systemic changes in public education”); COPAA (The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates) and texts of special education statutes, regulations and judicial decisions.
Families USA - This is the web site of Families USA, “a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health and long-term care for all Americans.”
Family Voices - This is the home page of Family Voices, “partnering with professionals and families to advocate for health care services that are family-centered, community-based, comprehensive, coordinated and culturally competent.” Related issues and resources are included on the web site.
Federal Regional Resource Center Program - The FRRCP supports a nationwide technical assistance network to “assist state education agencies in the systemic improvement of education programs, practices, and policies that affect children and youth with disabilities. Services offered by the RRC Program include consultation, information services, specially designed technical assistance, training, and product development.
GreatSchools.org - This website believes involved parents mean successful kids. They offer a variety of information from preschool to college with a section devoted to Advocacy & Law. They also have worksheets & activities, homework help, parenting dilemmas, and information on health & behavior.
Guide to Disability Rights Laws - Disability.gov’s online “Guide to Disability Rights Laws.”
IDEA 2012: The Manual for Parents and Students About Special Education Services in Texas (The ARC of Texas and Disability Rights Texas) - The 2012 IDEA Manual is an invaluable resource for families trying to understand the Texas special education system and is available in both English and Spanish online at The ARC of Texas and the Disability Rights Texas websites. The manual can be downloaded and used by anyone. It incorporates Federal and State laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), current Federal regulations and current state laws through the 2011 Texas legislative session.
IDEAS that Work! - This website is designed to provide easy access to information from research to practice initiatives funded by OSEP that address the provisions of IDEA and NCLB. This web site will include resources, links, and other important information that supports OSEP’s research to practice efforts. This site was created to provide a "one-stop shop" for resources related to IDEA and its implementing regulations, released on August 3, 2006. It is a "living" website and will change and grow as resources and information become available.
National Health Law Program - The home page of the National Health Law Program, a public interest law firm that seeks to improve health care for Americans with disabilities and others. Their web site provides information on a number of different topics relevant to health care advocacy.
Not Dead Yet - This is the website of “Not Dead Yet” which advocates against assisted suicide and euthanasia of people with disabilities. “What we oppose is a public policy that singles out individuals for legalized killing based on their health status.”
Pacer Center Resources - Top Parent Concern: My Child's Ability to be a Self-Advocate
Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights Center - This is the website for the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights Center (PACER) whose mission is “to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents.”
Partners in Policymaking Program - This website is for the Minnesota Partners in Policymaking® program to teach parents and self-advocates the power of advocacy to change the way people with disabilities are supported, viewed, taught, live and work. They offer 5 FREE E-Learning courses online (Partners in Living, Partners In Time, Partners in Education, Partners in Employment, and Making Your Case).
Ragged Edge Magazine - This is the online version of Ragged Edge Magazine who writes about “society’s ‘ragged edge’ issues: medical rationing, genetic discrimination, assisted suicide, long-term care, attendant services.”
Self Advocates Becoming Empowered - Includes resource links, reports, the SABE newsletter, and information on the Project Leadership training program.
Self-Advocacy Online - Find self-advocacy groups, view stories from self-advocates, and learn about self-advocacy on this website, developed by the Research and Training Center on Community Living at The University of Minnesota.
Special Ed Connection - This website by LRP Publications offers a free monthly e-newsletter, or for a fee you can access their database for case law research.
Speaking for Ourselves - This is the website for Speaking for Ourselves. “Speaking for Ourselves, a non-profit organization, is a pioneer in self-advocacy for people with disabilities.” This site includes information on self-determination.
TASH - The web site of TASH, “an international association of people with disabilities, their family members, other advocates, and professionals fighting for a society in which inclusion of all people in all aspects of society is the norm.” The site provides information about TASH including their mission statement, resolutions, and policy statements; conference information; publications; web links and more.
Texas Appleseed - Texas Appleseed's mission is to promote social and economic justice for all Texans by leveraging the skills and resources of volunteer lawyers and other professionals to identify practical solutions to difficult systemic problems. Resources include Navigating the Juvenile Justice System: A Handbook for Juveniles and Their Families and Finding Help When You're in Trouble with the Law: A Handbook for Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families.
Texas Education Week - This is the Texas page from the online newspaper, “Education Week”. It provides statistics on education in Texas; information on the Governor and Education Commissioner; web links to the Texas State Education Agency and other state educational associations; web links to Texas newspapers; legislative updates and more.
Texas Center for Disability Studies - This is the home page for the Texas Center for Disability Studies, one of 66 University Centers on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Research, Education, and Services (UCEDD). Their mission is “to serve as a catalyst so that people with disabilities, are living the lives they choose in supportive communities” Information also provided in Spanish.
Texas A&M Center on Disability and Development - This is the home page of TAMU Center on Disability & Development, one of 66 University Centers on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Research, Education, and Services (UCEDD). They support the self-determination, community integration, and quality of life of people with disabilities and their families.
The Arc of Texas - The Arc of Texas promotes, protects and advocates for the human rights and self-determination of Texans with developmental and intellectual disabilities. See their Advocacy section for information on current policy priorities and advocacy training.
THOMAS - This is the THOMAS website (“Legislative Information on the Internet”) provided by the Library of Congress. It provides access to House and Senate directories, Congressional records, legislation, committee information, web links and more.
What Works Clearinghouse - This website provides educators with the information they need to make evidence based decisions. They review a wide range of education topics for effectiveness of interventions. Topics are defined by intended outcome (such as improved math skills), intended population (such as students with learning disabilities), and types of interventions (such as school choice) that may improve student outcomes.
Who Represents Me? - Provides information about current districts and members of the Texas Senate, Texas House of Representatives, the Texas delegation to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and the State Board of Education.
World Institute on Disability - The home page of the World Institute on Disability, “a non-profit research, public policy and advocacy center dedicated to promoting independence and societal inclusion of people with disabilities.”
Wrightslaw - An online library dedicated to special education law and advocacy. It also contains news alerts; free publications and online newsletters; disability-related topics; and a bookstore.
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