National PTA’s Special Education Toolkit [web resource]

Special ed 569The Special Education Toolkit from National Parent-Teacher Association (National PTA) helps make sense of an often confusing system and educates families of newly diagnosed children with special needs on how to get the best special education, services, and resources available to them.

Toolkit Overview

Getting Started

Learn about the special education process and how to advocate for your child. Get the answers to questions such as:

  • What is Special Education?
  • How do I determine if my child has special needs?
  • What are the types of services available to my child with special needs?
  • How do I begin the special education process?
  • What is an Individual Education Program (IEP)?
  • What do I bring to my child’s IEP meeting?
  • Who attends the IEP meeting?
  • What are parent’s rights in Special Education?

From Pre-K to Graduation

Transitioning your student throughout his or her school career and preparing them for college or the workforce after graduation. This section answers the following questions and more:

  • How do I help my child transition from preschool to kindergarten?
  • What questions should I ask as my child transitions from preschool to kindergarten?
  • How can I help my child transition from elementary to middle school?
  • What questions should I ask as my child transitions from elementary to middle school?
  • How can I help my child transition from middle to high school?
  • What questions should I ask as my child transitions from middle to high school?
  • How can I help my child prepare for college?
  • Is there a transition “checklist” to help my child move to college or career?

Understanding Federal Policy

An overview of federal disability and special needs policies, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

A Parent’s Dictionary

Key terms to know when getting started in special education.


An overview of acronyms used in special education and disability policies and programs.


Resources include:

  • Tools for Families
  • Locating Special Education Services in My State
  • National Organizations

Find more education resources for families and caregivers in the Family Resources section of the National PTA website.

Source: National PTA | Special Education Toolkit, | ® National PTA, Accessed July 2019
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association.

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