Parent Centers Assist Children with Disabilities in Public Education

Thanks to my good friend RobynsWorld on Twitter, I learned how Parent Centers help children with disabilities in the public education setting.  I reached out to her because we received a letter from Sammi’s school that set up a meeting to determine if she is eligible for a 504 Accommodation Plan.

Even though I have a strong background in eduction, especially for children with disabilities, I’m lost right now. So when Robyn gave me the link for the Parent Center in for my region, I immediately signed up. In about 5 minutes I received a phone call from a trained volunteer parent.  Next I was signed up for an online meeting and getting tons of information.

I learned what to expect from the meeting for the 504 and how to be prepared for it. I also learned that I should request an evaluation for an Individualize Educational Program (IEP). I already have the letter with all the correct lingo and will be printing it out, signing it and mailing it via certified mail tomorrow.

All along, I should have been documenting every meeting I had with each teacher and support staff. I knew this, but being in this situation I forgot about it. I’m not going to kick myself for the past, but move forward with the support of the Parent Center.

I’m going through the list of accomodations that are offered to children with disabilities and bringing what I believe Sammi needs to the meeting, bringing documentation of the diagnoses she has from each doctor and am setting up an appointment with a neuro-psychiatrist. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, but after hearing the parent volunteer make this suggestion, I know it has to be done.

As Robyn and the volunteer both said in their own way, I am my daughter’s best advocate. The Parent Center is there to guide me along the way and help me get my daughter the best education she deserves.

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Connie Roberts

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Living in the Tampa Bay area, I'm lucky enough to see beautiful sunsets almost every day. Although life can be difficult at times, focusing on the positive and being with my family is what gets me through.

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  1. Hugs coming your way. Last Tuesday I served the principal of our school with a 504 note from our doctor. After dealing with their garbage all year I had it. I need to protect my son since they are not helping. My oldest has major anxiety and the teacher does not recognize that panic attacks can manifest differently. I am demanding a safe quiet place when he needs it, and technology implementation to ease anxiety when writing since he used to receive OT for low muscle tone. The most frustrating part, my son was tested and is intellectually gifted – we can not force them to enrich him or help us with that. Things like this make me embarrassed to be an educator.

  2. I’m getting my special education endorsement and I can honestly say that parents have to be an advocate for their children. The best outcomes for children involve the parents and teachers/staff working together. I’m glad you are highlighting this site as well as giving parents a call to action if they feel their child needs accommodations. Parents often know their child better than the teachers and so they know what their child needs. I hope everything goes well. : )

  3. While my son’s issues are more behavioral, I’m learning quickly that documentation and strong advocacy are going to be important all the way through his academic career. Thank you for this post.

    Mega hugs, mama!

  4. Long live twitter! So glad you got to the resource you needed at the time you needed it!

  5. Dealing with the schools and IEPs is truly worth pulling your hair out. You are your child’s best advocate and they school most likely will fight you tooth and nail to get services (at least that’s been my experience).

  6. I hadn’t heard about Parent Centers but think its great they are trying to help kids.

  7. I am glad you found the site, and that it is so helpful. It really is terrible how some schools dismiss certain conditions.

  8. Oooh, I could start a major debate here because I have very strong opinions about IEPs, etc. My husband is a Special Education teacher at the local high school and my son is in the Autism Spectrum with an IQ of 137 at last check (when he was 8… he is now 11). I will just end this to avoid all that with, “That is why I homeschool.” LOL!

  9. It’s got to be helpful that you have a background in education not all parents know what to do in these situations. I’m glad that this service is available to you so you can make sure your daughter gets what she needs and deserves.

  10. Oh how I can relate as we’re dealing with 504 and dyslexia currently and have been for a couple of years. It is amazing how difficult things can be when you’re emotionally involved since it is your child.

    Here is my advice: anything you want, modification and accommodation wise, MUST be copiously outlined in your 504 paperwork. The 504 team will then review your request and approve or deny it. Once approved, before you sign the final paperwork, ensure again that all modifications and accommodations are outlined with detail as you wanted. Otherwise, if it is not in your 504 paperwork, the school is not held responsible later down the road.

    For example, we asked that a buddy be assigned to our son in the classroom in 2nd grade. While it was agreed that the teacher would assign him a classroom buddy, as the year went on and this did not happen she was able to weasel her way out by stating he was sat closely to the front of the classroom and our son knew he could ask peers for help. This is not what we agreed to, but from their standpoint, since specific details were lacking in the 504 paperwork, her response pacified the Office of Civil Rights when we filed a complaint. This is just one example of many.

    Also know accommodations/modifications that are agreed upon through out the school year in a Parent Teacher conferences are not things that the school can be held accountable for unless they are also approved by the 504 committee/team AND listed in the 504 paperwork.

    It is all about the 504! 🙂

    Press ahead and best of luck!

  11. I had no idea what a 504 accommodation plan was. I hope you can indeed get your daughter the best education that she deserves.


  1. […] did a good job of advocating for my daughter. We also had the help of the Parent Volunteer from the Parent Center at the meeting via phone. Knowing she was listening in and was able to ask questions and provide […]

  2. […] you have at school, including one on one teacher meetings. It is imperative to document everything in case further assistance is warranted at your child’s school, such as a 504 Accommodation Plan or an Individual Education Plan […]