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Getting what your child needs in the classroom, Step 2: Know the law

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This Massachusettes monument represtents education and law

No matter how much parents love their children, they can not become successful advocates for them unless they know the laws that need to be enforced. There are many ways to go about this, but parents must be careful that they are looking for answers in legitimate places. Yahoo Answers is not an example of a legitimate place to find answers for special education topics.

Finding copies of the laws themselves are not that difficult. You can find these laws right on the Internet in an unedited format:

IDEA 2004


Section 504

Few parents, however, have the time or knowledge to read through the pages and pages of legalese that are contained in the above links. Even a glance at one of these laws can be overwhelming, especially to a parent who is just trying to find help for their child.

There are may places on the internet where parents can find these laws, broken down into segments with comments that help the parent understand. There are other sites where a parent can search a specific question and see if it has been asked before. Most likely, it has.

Wrightslaw is the best website for finding the answers to parents' questions in plain English. The writers are able to take the most confusing laws and make sense out of them, making a parent's job much easier. There are other websites with similar content, but none as thorough and complete as Other websites include; The US Department of Education's site and the Special Ed section at

There are also several books on the law and advocation for special education students. Parents can find the best ones at the Special Needs eStore: Especially For You. There are a wide range of books that focus on dealing with children with special needs.

Another great resource for parents would be a book review. This helps them know exactly what is in a book and whether or not they will find it helpful in their situation. This book review contains both informational and well as biographical books.

Lastly, contact your state Department of Education and request a copy of the special education laws for your state.

One of the positive outcomes of researching issues from special education, is that parents will quickly realize that nearly every question they have has been asked and answered before. No parent is ever alone in their quest to get their child everything he or she deserves. Although it may seem like it as they are smiling and nodding at a teacher who just told them “I understand that is part of the IDEA law, but it is against our school policy.”

(Don't worry, we'll cover that next.) 

Step 1: Smile

COMING SOON: Step 3: Know who to talk to

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