School may be almost out for the summer, but The Arc@School is still in session. Now in its second year, The Arc@School continues its mission to build the capacity of The Arc’s nationwide network of chapters to provide individual advocacy that helps students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) navigate the special education system. Equal access to education is a fundamental right for all citizens and an important building block for a strong society. For students with I/DD, a high-quality education can make an enormous difference in the quality of life and degree of independence they enjoy in adulthood. Special education advocacy is instrumental in ensuring that students’ rights are respected and that they receive the services and supports necessary to graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education and employment.
With these ideals in mind, The Arc@School conducted an investigation of existing special education advocacy practices and published a report entitled Special Education Advocacy and The Arc’s Chapter Network: Findings from The Arc@School. Students with I/DD, parents, educators, and advocates can find:
- A brief overview of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the growth of non-attorney lay advocacy in special education;
- A description of the curriculum, length, and cost of current advocacy training programs, such as Wrightslaw and the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA);
- A description of The Arc networks’ current capacity for providing individual special education advocacy;
- A summary of the current limited academic research on best practices in special education advocacy; and
- A list of program recommendations that The Arc@School intends to implement in the coming years, such as a suggestion that The Arc@School collaborate with the COPAA, PTI Center, and protection and advocacy networks to ensure that scarce special education advocacy resources reach as many families as possible.
To read the report, please see Special Education Advocacy and The Arc’s Chapter Network.