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(s).
  • 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 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.

Access Points Brochure

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, and are setting neutral, meaning a student working on Access Points can be instructed in a variety of settings, including those with same-grade non-disabled peers in  general education courses.

Access Points Brochure in English
Folleto de Puntos de Acceso (Access Points) en Español
Brochure Pwen Aksè (Access Points) nan Kreyòl Ayisyen

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 initial five-part series provides information regarding Exceptional Student Education in the state of Florida.

Additionally, other previously recorded webinars are available through the recorded webinars page of the FDLRS Administration Project website

Parents can also register for upcoming webinars as part of the Fridays with FDLRS series

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.

District-Specific ESE Information

Polk County | Hardee County | Lake Wales Charter District

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.

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.

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 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, 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, another 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 ESE Parent Website

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

Sign Up for FDLRS Sunrise Parent Webinars

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 in English

Aviso de Garantías Procesales para Padres de Estudiantes con Discapacidades en Español

Avi sou Pwosedi Sovgad pou Paran Elèv ki Gen Andikap an Kreyòl Ayisyen


Procedural Safeguards for Gifted and Exceptional Students in English

Garantías Procesales para Estudiantes Dotados y Excepcionales en Español

FND Informational Webinars

The Family Network on Disabilities (FND) has created a series of informational webinars to help parents navigate the world of exceptional student education. Below are listed the title, a brief description, and the YouTube link to each of these webinars. If you have any questions or need personal assistance please contact FND directly at 800-825-5736.


Making Your Case
Whether you are a professional lobbyist or a parent who is simply planning to lobby on an issue to which you are committed, there are certain traits that are essential to functioning successfully in the legislative environment. Without these traits, any other techniques you may have perfected or expertise you may have developed will be quite challenging. This workshop will take you through the steps to be the best advocate you can be for your child.



Parent and Student’s Rights (Senate Bill 1108/850)
This workshop will discuss two pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 1108 (2013) on exceptional student education and Senate Bill 850 (2014) on persons with disabilities and Florida’s diploma options from 2014 to the present day.


Substitute to Supported Decision Making
Imagine having your capacity to make decisions, sign contracts, vote, defend your rights in court or choose medical treatments taken away simply because you have a disability. For many persons with disabilities, this is a fact of life, and the consequences can be grave. When individuals lack the legal capacity to act, they are not only robbed of their right to equal recognition before the law, they are also robbed of their ability to defend and enjoy other human rights. Guardians and tutors acting on behalf of persons with disabilities sometimes fail to act in the interests of the individual they are representing; worse, they sometimes abuse their positions of authority, violating the rights of others.


Parents as Leaders
We provide a framework of where to begin. There are a few different ways of approaching support groups– not all groups are created equal. POPIN will first review a few different models of support groups to consider, and then discuss what aspects may cause each model to be a good fit for interested members. PAL modules include:

  1. How to start and sustain a parent support group
  2. How to start and sustain on online “virtual” parent support group
  3. Parent Advocacy in your parent support group and beyond.

Your Guide to an IEP that Works
Developing and implementing an IEP (Individual Education Plan) is the equal responsibility of educators, parents, and other members of the IEP team. This workshop explains the IEP process and the importance of parental participation. Learn helpful tips for writing effective IEP goals and strategies.


Best Practices for Inclusive Education
This presentation educates families on the Best Practices for Inclusive Education (BPIE), a self-assessment tool and process for your school district and local schools to identify and prioritize areas of Need for inclusive practices that enable all students with disabilities to achieve their highest potential.


Additional Resources

COVID 19 ESE Downloadable Resources

FND PSN Facebook Page

Family Network on Disabilities Facebook Page

Family Network on Disabilities Facebook Page (Spanish)

IEP ESE Downloadable Resource: Understanding IEP Components