Knowledge Is Power

It is said that knowledge is power.  This certainly is true for parents of students with PWS.  Knowing how to find and use information is an important special advocacy skill for parents.  Below is some information, from the Special Education Law Symposium, I hope parents find helpful:

  • IDEA funding levels remains a big issue of concern for schools across the country.  For FY 2014, IDEA federal funding covered 16 percent of the estimated excess cost of educating children with disabilities, less than in FY 2008 when federal funding covered 17 percent of the cost and well below FY 2009 when additional funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act covered 33 percent of the cost. IDEA Part B “full funding” for FY 2014 would have amounted to approximately $28.65 billion, or roughly $17.17 billion more than was actually appropriated. The shortfall in IDEA funding has been assumed by the states and local school districts. Source:  http://febp.newamerica.net/background-analysis/individuals-disabilities-education-act-funding-distribution
  • The Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) center and related schools are developing an interesting school model designed to bridge general and specialized education settings to create powerful learning opportunities for students and teachers and promote active, engaged partnerships among families and community members.  To learn more visit http://www.swiftschools.org/
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) are an important support needed for students with disabilities.  The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has created a website that includes information for parents to explain PBIS in school settings.  To learn more visit https://www.pbis.org/
  • The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is an important agency for parents of children with disabilities.  The OSER website explains, “OSERS is committed to improving results and outcomes for people with disabilities of all ages. OSERS supports programs that serve millions of children, youth and adults with disabilities”.  To learn more about OSERS visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/index.html
  • The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), an agency under OSERS, is particularly important for parents of students with disabilities.  THE OSEP website explains OSEP “is dedicated to improving results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21 by providing leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts.”  OSEP offers updates on IDEA funding, special education policies, program development and more.  To learn more about OSEP visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/index.html
  • OSEP also publishes on a regular basis policy guidelines/letters on a number of important topics related to issues of concern for students with disabilities.  These letters provide useful information and guidance for parents and IEP teams. To find out more about OSEP letters visit

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/index.html

  • Issues of student privacy can be confusing to parents.  So it is very important for every parent of a student with a disability to understand the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which governs the privacy protections of students.  Visit this website to learn more about this important issue http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

-Evan Farrar, PWSA (USA) Family Support Counselor

Note:  I am attending the Special Education Law Symposium at Lehigh University this week.  For updates, please follow this blog and follow me on twitter @evanearlfarrar

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About pwsatoday

PWSA (USA) is an organization of families and professionals working together to raise awareness, offer support, provide education and advocacy, and promote and fund research to enhance the quality of life of those affected by Prader-Willi syndrome.
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