Need to Be Willing to Ask "Dumb" Questions
"I'm just a parent. This is probably a dumb question but ... "
Most of us who are parents/advocates started out the same way -- inexperienced about special education. There is a difference between being "dumb" and being "uninformed."
you are like me, no one provided or volunteered you with any information about
where to start, what to do, whom to contact, or what to ask. I learned from the
"School of Hard Knocks" (where, by the way, the school colors are Black
& Blue). Most of my questions were "dumb."
parents of preschoolers I meet today are much more sophisticated than I was when
my daughter entered kindergarten -- and had been in the "system" for
We have to ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. Wrightslaw's From Emotions to Advocacy urges parents to ask "Who, What, Why, When, Where, How, and Explain" (5 W's + H + E) questions.
questions is the very, very best way to learn how to negotiate the maze of special
For information about Physical Education and Adapted Physical Education: A Requirement for Your Child's Special Education Program, click here.
For information about Related Services, including transportation to school, as Pat described in this article, click here.
For information on Modifications & Accommodations, including modifications to curriculum and Adapted Physical Education (PE) that Pat mentioned in her article, click here.
Some children with disabilities need accommodations and modifications in their special education programs. This 4 page printer-friendly PDF article defines accommodations and modifications and gives examples for books, curriculum, instruction, assignments, and behavior.
Remember that denying the accommodations and modifications that will allow the child equal access to an education is a denial of the child's right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Learn more here.Meet Pat Howey
Patricia Howey has supported families of children with disabilities since 1985. She has a specific learning disability and became involved in special education when her youngest child entered kindergarten. Pat has children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who have a variety of disabilities and she has used her experience to advocate for better special education services for several of them.
Pat began her advocacy career as a volunteer for the Task Force on Education for the Handicapped (now InSource), Indiana’s Parent Training and Information Center. In 1990, she opened her advocacy practice and served families throughout Indiana by representing them at IEP meetings, mediation, and due process hearings.
In 2017, Pat closed her advocacy practice and began working on a contract basis as a special education paralegal. Attorneys in Indiana, Texas, and California contracted with her to review documents, spot issues, draft due process complaints, prepare for hearings, and assist at hearings. In January 2019, she became an employee of the Connell Michael Kerr law firm, owned by Erin Connell, Catherine Michael, and Sonja Kerr. Her duties have now expanded to assisting with federal court cases.