The Edison Local School District will hold a series of training sessions to help parents meet their child’s needs when it comes to special education.
Jamie Angelini, district director of special education and early childhood development, said five sessions will be held on Sept. 13 and 27, Oct. 18 and Nov. 15 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Edison High School, but more events may be added based on group size and interest. Angelini said the program is new to the district and will touch on what parents need to know to support their child.
“We will discuss various topics for parents in regards to understanding special education,” Angelini explained. “We will look at the evaluation process and understanding evaluation team reports, individualized education plans (IEP’s) and break down the components of an IEP. The purpose of this is to help parents understand this complex process from start to finish.”
She added that the process could be quite overwhelming for parents, but the Tuesday night sessions will help them learn what to do when their child is struggling or identifies as having a disability. They will understand what questions to ask and what it all means and then break it down to a simpler form. A two-part session is set for Sept. 13 and 27 and focuses on “My Child’s Rights to FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) and A System for Organizing Records,” while topics continue with “Understanding and Writing IEP’s” on Oct. 18 and “Understanding the Evaluation Process under Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) 2004.”
“Having this additional knowledge will help them understand the process, work collaboratively with the team and be an integral part in their child’s IEP process,” she said.
Laryssa Beatty, an information specialist and trainer with the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities, will act as facilitator and inform parents about available services. OCECD is a statewide nonprofit organization that serves families of infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, educators and agencies who provide services to them. Angelini hopes for a good turnout during the sessions while light refreshments, childcare and prize giveaways will also be available. She said the event will highlight the process from beginning to end.
“When working with parents, I try to put myself in their shoes and help them understand this complex world of special education. From the beginning when the team or parent has concerns that a student or child may have a disability, to the evaluation process and eligibility for special education, this journey can be a complex one for parents,” she continued. “With all of the laws pertaining to special education to the numerous pages of reports and documentation, the information is vast, comes to the parent quickly and can leave the parents feeling completely overwhelmed.”
Her goal is to be proactive and offer more time to spend with parents on the various topics so they have a better understanding of the process before coming to the table for a team meeting.
“I want to encourage parents to come to me with questions, for help, clarification and to foster a positive relationship with myself and the school. I truly want to help them understand what all of this means, from the beginning of the process until the end. We are all advocates for the students and in order to serve in this capacity effectively, the more knowledge that parents have and the more that we can work together, the better the outcomes will be for the student.”