Parent Resources

Special Ed Connection

Is your child receiving special education services? 

Gain a better understanding of special education processes and learn how to help your child benefit from special education services by accessing Special Ed Connection ®. Here are just a few of the resources waiting for you:

News and updates on the latest news and developments in the special education community.

  • Tools that can help you learn how to be more actively involved in meeting the special education needs of your family member.
  • Smart Starts that provide a quick way to gain a better understanding of almost 450 special education topics, federal regulations, case law, assistive technology, and how the special education law applies to your family member.
  • A Special Ed Online Dictionary that lists more than 1400 widely-used terms with straightforward, easily-understood definitions.
  • Special Ed Round-Ups that offer a fast and easy way to quickly access best practices on hundreds of special education issues from autism to bullying to post-secondary transition and more.

The Florida Department of Education is proud to provide access to Special Ed Connection ® at no cost to families of individuals with disabilities who are enrolled in special education programs. 

Sign up to receive access to Special Ed Connection.

Autism Support Group

FDLRS Sunrise has partnered with Polk County Public Schools and United Way of Central Florida to host a support group for families and caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The meetings recur on the third Tuesday of every month and are held at the Family Fundamentals center in downtown Lakeland. Further information can be found on the Autism Support Group flyer.

BrightExpectations

BrightExpectations is the Department of Health’s website to provide resources and information on developmental disabilities for pregnant women, health care providers, parents, and families. This website is a portal to provide information on evaluation and intervention services, support programs for families, resources for health care providers, and serve as a clearinghouse of information on developmental disabilities.

FloridaStudents.org

The Florida Department of Education has created a new website entitled FloridaStudents.org which provides Florida Standards aligned student tutorials and resources for grades K-12 in the areas of Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Civics. Additional tutorials are being added.

District-Specific ESE Information

Polk County | Hardee County

Procedural Safeguards

As a parent, you are entitled to information about your rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These rights, or procedural safeguards, are intended to ensure that you have the opportunity to be a partner in the educational decisions made regarding your child.

Notice of Procedural Safeguards for Parents of Students with Disabilities
English | Spanish | Haitian-Creole

Procedural Safeguards for Exceptional Students Who Are Gifted
English | Spanish

Scholarship Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

The Gardiner Scholarship Program provides eligible students with a scholarship that can be used to purchase approved services or products in order to design a customized educational program for the student. Scholarships can be used for specialized services such as speech or occupational therapy, instructional materials, tuition at an eligible private school, contributions to a college prepaid account and more. The program is directly administered by state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organizations.

The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program, originally created in 1999, provides scholarships for eligible students with disabilities to attend an eligible public or private school of their choice. Students with disabilities include K-12 students who are documented as having an intellectual disability; a speech or language impairment; a hearing impairment, including deafness; a visual impairment, including blindness; a dual sensory impairment; an orthopedic impairment, an other health impairment, an emotional or behavioral disability; a specific learning disability, including, but not limited to, dyslexia, dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia; a traumatic brain injury; a developmental delay; or autism spectrum disorder.

Florida Access Project

Access Points are alternate achievement standards built to target the salient content of the Florida Standards. They are designed to contribute to a fully aligned system of content, instruction, and assessment. All access points are intended to allow fluid movement as students grow in competency.

Access Points Brochure
English | Spanish | Haitian-Creole

FDLRS Parent Webinars

The FDLRS Administration Project has developed a Parent Webinar Series.  The Parent Webinar Series was developed in 2017, based upon the requests from parents throughout the State.  The five-part series provides information regarding Exceptional Student Education.  The suggested best practice is to facilitate these offerings, with parents/guardians, in order to answer questions and build partnerships amongst district staff and parent/guardians. We understand that parents/guardians may not always be able to participate at scheduled times and therefore, they may get this valuable information by clicking the links below and listening to the original recordings.

Topic #1: Understanding the World of ESE
Topic #2: Understanding the Individual Education Plan
Topic #3:  Instructional Practices
Topic #4: Connecting Families with Agencies and Other Resources
Topic #5: Family and School Partnerships

Florida ESE Parent Website

A collection of resources and success stories available from the Florida ESE Parent Page, Parent Involvement in Exceptional Education in Florida.

Available Resources

A Parent's Introduction to Exceptional Student Education in Florida

A Parent's Guide to the Facilitated Individual Education Plan Process

Easing Your Stress Caregiver Brochure

Parent Resources from FDLRS.org

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