News and Notes from The Johnson Center

Resource Review: Wrights Law From Emotions to Advocacy: The Special Education Survival Guide by Pam and Pete Wright

JCCHD | Mon, March 11, 2013 | [Autism Treatment][Community][Resource Review]

Woman helping a child

If you have a child with special needs and are looking for a special-education-survival guide, Wrights Law: From Emotions to Advocacy is the book you need.  The authors, Pam and Pete Wright, founded as a resource to provide advice and guidance on educational law and advocacy. They have published numerous books on the topic and offer a wealth of relevant information on their website. Whether you are just starting to learn about options for special education, or are well into the process, this guide is a wonderful resource.
From Emotions to Advocacy equips parents with knowledge, empowering them to become their child’s biggest advocate. The information is presented clearly and is well organized and easy to read.  The book is divided into five sections: Getting Started, Advocacy 101, The Parent as the Expert, Special Education Law, and Tactics and Strategies. The Getting Started section provides a nice introduction to educational advocacy and explains why it is important for parents to feel comfortable advocating for their child in the educational setting.  The authors provide tips on planning, initiating, and managing the process.

Advocacy 101 includes advice on understanding your child’s school and school district as well as relevant rules.  Tips are provided for dealing with obstacles and managing relationships.  Common parent-school problems are reviewed, as well as how to resolve any conflicts or crises that might arise.

The Parent as the Expert section provides critical information on how your child is evaluated for special-education services.  This includes the school’s evaluation process, understanding test results, the limitations of school evaluations, and learning about your child’s needs and what the most effective educational practices are. This section has a wonderful chapter on understanding test scores, so you can feel confident interpreting how the school is measuring your child’s abilities and progress through standardized tests. Additionally, the chapter describes what Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are, how they should be developed, and guidance on how to write effective IEP goals and objectives.

Up-to-date information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2004 are covered in the Special Education Law section. These are the two most important legal acts in the area of special education—understanding them will make your child’s educational rights clear.

The final section on Tactics and Strategies explains how to document and track progress (or lack of progress), write important letters, and prepare for and participate in educational meetings. Also included are sample letters, helpful charts, worksheets, and a glossary of important terms.
No matter where you are in the process, Wright’s Law: From Emotions to Advocacy is a highly recommended resource for navigating special education.