- If parents don't understand the special education system, they cannot optimally problem solve with the school. Consider referral to a parent network such as the Utah Parent Center.
- Encourage the family to maintain a collaborative working relationship with the school system, as opposed to viewing the school as "the bad guy."
- Parents should be encouraged to explore their options including observing and visiting the various educational settings.
- Parents should work with the child's current therapists/educators/and care providers to ensure optimal inclusion. The clinician can help identify current goals and the types of supports that will be needed to maintain safety, hygiene, and general health.
- When the setting recommended by the school is in conflict with the parent's wishes, unique problem solving may be necessary. Peer tutors or volunteer staff might be used to better include the child in a general classroom in a school with limited resources or periods of inclusion may be identified to increase peer interaction for the child in a contained classroom. Clinicians can encourage parents to talk with other parents, visit websites, seek help from support groups and/or obtain an educational consult to identify workable solutions.
- Limitations in staffing and varying philosophies about the use of one-on-one full time aids often lead to conflict between family and school systems. Clinicians should help the family weigh all factors carefully and encourage them to work though the school. Guard against offering dogmatic statements about the need for a one-on-one aid.
- Private therapies or outside tutoring can be used to focus on specific academic goals when the family desires to focus more on inclusion at school. The clinician should help the family identify these specific goals, available funding, and prescription of appropriate therapies.
- When communication breaks down, appeals and legal representation may be necessary. The clinician can refer the parents to appropriate agencies.
Special Ed and 504, a brief summary ( 73 KB)
An brief overview of Special Education and Section 504, including Utah-specific resources, from the Collaborative Medical Home Project, 2008.
Disability Law Center, Utah
A nonprofit organization designated by the Governor to protect the rights of people with disabilities in Utah. Mission: to enforce and strengthen laws that protect the opportunities, choices and legal rights of people with disabilities in Utah.
A Guide to the Individualized Education Program (DOE)
Information about special education and IEPs; U.S. Department of Education.
Utah State Office of Education, Special Education Services with links to state policies, services, manuals, and other resources.
Official U.S. Department of Education description of IDEA Part B (ages 3-21) and Part C (ages birth-3).