Monday, May 18, 2015

Parent Training and Advocacy Training

Parent education and training is a critical component of parent empowerment and of enabling parents to affect change for their children.  Empowering parents leads to the possibility of systemic - and even societal - change for children with disabilities.  At A2Z, we strive to incorporate parent education into our work for each family by making parents more aware of their legal rights and the rights of students, enabling them to learn how to speak up effectively and become life-long advocates, and empowering parents to stand up for their rights in a meaningful way so that their voices are heard.

Parents of students with disabilities need to learn as much as possible about special education laws and procedures and about their legal rights that affect meaningful parent participation and ensure that students receive a free appropriate public education.

The experienced Advocates and Attorneys at A2Z often put their expertise to use in training events and presentations for other advocates and attorneys, parents, and other professionals in the special education field.  We have experience presenting on a wide range of topics and to meet a wide range of audience needs.  In addition to local presentations and talks, Jane, Mandy and Carrie have each presented at the national COPAA conference numerous times on many different topics related to special education.  Jane has also co-presented an intensive pre-conference workshop with a clinical psychologist, specifically on the subject of special education evaluations and IEEs.  Carrie and Mandy have co-presented an intensive two day pre-conference workshop on special education advocacy skills, with another attorney and advocate.  Additionally, Mandy has been one of the primary teachers for COPAA's Special Education Advocacy Training (SEAT) program for the past few years.

Special Education Training for Parents is Available!!!

With this experience, we are able to present to parent groups or other groups in southern California on topics related to special education advocacy, parent rights, and the special education process.  Examples of topics on which we could present to your group include:

*  An Overview of Parent Rights under Special Education Laws
*  An Overview of the IEP Process and Evaluations
*  Independent Educational Evaluations
*  Special Education for Students with Autism
*  Special Education for Students with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
*  Special Education for Students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD

More advanced topics could also be covered for more advanced audiences.  We are also willing to create specific presentations to meet your group's needs.  Contact A2Z and ask for Carrie for more information!

There are also many resources available for parents to access information and training opportunities, such as -

*  Dept. of Education's IDEA page -
*  The Wrightslaw website has a wealth of information related to IDEA and special education, and is very parent-friendly.  There are also books available for purchase for more in depth information about topics.
*  Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) - Parents can join COPAA for access to resources and information.  COPAA also provides webinars on topics related to special education throughout the year and an annual in-person conference each year.
*  Your Special Education Rights is a website that provides free information / resources to parents (and others) via a "continuously updated video library covering essential information in order to secure appropriate special education services for their child." -
*  Wrightslaw's DVD / Multi-media version of its Special Education Law and Advocacy training program is available for purchase online.

In addition, special education advocates as well as law students and attorneys wishing to pursue special education law are often looking for training specific to disability rights and special education laws and advocacy skills, and there are many resources available to meet those training needs -

*  COPAA - Advocates and attorneys can also join COPAA for access to resources, information, and valuable training opportunities.
*  The COPAA SEAT program is the best-of-the-best when it comes to training for Special Education Advocates!  SEAT provides students with intensive coursework and a hands-on practicum component to provide training so that advocates achieve competency in their field.
*  The Advocacy Institute provides a variety of webinars (both live and through access to archived webinars) to provide training to advocates and parents on topics related to special education.

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