The M-ACAL Team compiled a list of resources for parents and educators specific to the following categories:

NOTE:  The University of Michigan Health System Web site does not provide specific medical advice and does not endorse any medical or professional service obtained through information provided on this site or any links to this site.  Use of the UMHS Web site does not replace medical consultation with a qualified health or medical professional to meet the health and medical needs of you or others. While UMHS Web site content is frequently updated, please remember that medical information changes rapidly and, therefore, some information may be out of date  and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors.

Assistive Technology

  • Center for Technology in Education (CTE)  At CTE, ensuring access to educational opportunity is at the heart of all we do. We help educators see ways around barriers to achievement, especially for children with disabilities. Removing a barrier might be as simple as adding a grip to a pencil, as complex as acquiring a screen reader or an augmentative communication device, or as complicated as learning to use word recognition or word prediction software. At CTE, we make sure that educators know when and how to use assistive technologies that open the door to success for children with special needs. We also show educators how to assess individual learning needs and how to implement assistive and instructional technologies that allow students to participate in daily academic activities and improve their achievement.
  • Standards-Based Individualized Education Program Examples   
    This document presents a seven-step process to be used in developing a standards-based IEP. Each step is followed by guiding questions for the IEP team to consider in making data-based decisions.4 Two student examples are provided to illustrate application of the components of a standards-based IEP. The student examples contained in this guide provide an opportunity for educators to think about and apply the steps toward developing and implementing a standards-based IEP. One student example leads to the decision that the student should take an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards while the other leads to a decision that the student should take the general assessment with accommodations. Readers may want to work in small groups to discuss their responses and to think about how the contextual characteristics of a school setting may influence the creation and implementation of a student’s IEP.
  • AT and the IEP (PDF)  Determining Assistive Technology Needs
    The IEP team determines the assistive technology needs of the child through an assessment
    process. It is important to consider the child’s strengths as well as their weaknesses, their
    likes and dislikes, and what strategies are helpful in interacting with the child. A child’s AT
    needs will change depending on their environment — at home, at school, or out in public at a
    library or at the mall — so the perspectives of family members and teachers, as well as the
    student, should all be taken into consideration.
  • AT and the Law (PDF) Understanding the Law & Assistive Technology
    There is a wide range of assistive technology (AT) services and devices to which a child may be entitled. It is important for families to understand how Federal laws affect their child’s right to AT. Provided below are brief summaries of laws that affect the provision of assistive technology and special education services.
  • AT 101 (PDF)  What Is Assistive Technology?
    Assistive technology is any kind of technology that can be used to enhance the functional
    independence of a person with a disability. Often, for people with disabilities, accomplishing
    daily tasks such as talking with friends, going to school and work, or participating in
    recreational activities is a challenge. Assistive Technology (AT) devices are tools to help to
    overcome those challenges and enable people living with disabilities to enhance their quality
    of life and lead more independent lives.
  • Resources for Locating Electronic Text 
    Electronic (computer-displayed) text can be an important resource for students with learning disabilities (LD), because it can be altered to meet their needs. A child with LD may benefit from changes to the appearance or organization of electronic text. These and other strategies are described in the article
  • Matching AT Tools with Individual Needs 
    Assistive technology (AT) has the potential to enhance the quality of life for students with learning disabilities (LD) by providing them with a means to compensate for their difficulties, and highlight their abilities.  Because students with learning problems have individual strengths, limitations, interests, and experiences, a technology tool that is be helpful in one situation or setting may be of little use under different circumstances. As a result, selecting the appropriate technology for a student with LD requires a careful analysis of the dynamic interaction between the individual, technology, task, and context. 

Fact Sheets on Assistive Technology
The Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD) is a resource designed to support organizations and programs that work with families of children and youth with disabilities. They offer a range of information and services on the subject of assistive technologies. The FCTD have four new Assistive Technology Fact Sheets available on their website. The four topics include:

IEP and IDEA Information (Back to Top)

  • Accommodations, Modifications, and Alternate Assessments: How They Affect Instruction and Assessment  
    When school staff talk about accommodations and modifications for your child with learning and/or attention problems, are you confused? What do these terms mean in a classroom? Has an alternate assessment been recommended for your child on a state- or district-wide test? What do you need to know when it comes to standardized tests used to make important decisions about your child?
  • Bridges4Kids IEP Goals and Objectives Bank (pdf) .This amazing 177-page document assists parents and professionals in forming goals for kids of all ages in the special education system. The Goal Bank allows users to locate specific goals as used in the eSIS SPED Full software. Content areas include English, functional academics, independent living, mathematics, mathematics readiness, motor, recreation and leisure, self-management and daily living, social emotional, speech and language, study skills, and vocational/career education.
  • Center for Educational Networking. CEN is a statewide education information network offering products and services.
  • Congressional Research Service. The part of the Library of Congress that serves as the research arm of Congress has published an analysis of the IDEA law. One page summary provided.
  • IDEA Partnership. This Web site reflects the collaborative work of more than 55 national organizations, as well as technical assistance providers, and state and local organizations and agencies. Together with the Office of Special Education Programs, the partner organizations form a community with the potential to transform the way we work.
  • IEP Overview  You asked to have your child evaluated for special education services. Now it's time for the IEP meeting, but you're not sure what to expect. What's in an IEP? How can you prepare for the meeting?
  • ERIC (Educations Resources Information Center) Creating Useful Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs)
    This digest was created by ERIC, THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INFORMATION CENTER
    (1-800-LET-ERIC).  The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the cornerstone  of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which ensures educational opportunity for students with disabilities. The IEP is a quasi-contractual agreement to guide, orchestrate, and document specially designed instruction for each student with a disability based on his or her unique academic, social, and behavioral needs.  By law, the IEP must include certain information about the child and the educational program designed to meet his or her unique needs (U.S. Department of Education, 2000).
  • IEP Goals:  The Basics Goals represent what you and the other IEP team members think your child will be able to accomplish in his area(s) of disability—academic, developmental, and functional—in a year’s time. Annual goals must be written in measurable terms.
  • National Center for Learning Disabilities IDEA Parent Guide. [The National Center for Learning Disabilities has created an online guide to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in order to explain the federal laws that underpin special education in every state. Although created primarily for parents, the guide is also a valuable source of information in accessible language for classroom teachers who may not have a background in special education. Teachers can use the guide to better understand the rights and requirements of their students with special needs.
  • National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. A project of the Academy for Educational Development, NICHCY offers information various aspects of disability, including IDEA legislation.
  • National Early Childhood Center. The Center offers a series of documents that review the statutory changes in IDEA 2004. Site also offers links to summaries of changes in the law prepared by various groups.
  • U.S. Department of Education: Model IEP Form (PDF)   The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written document that is developed for each eligible child with a disability. The Part B regulations specify, at 34 CFR §§300.320-300.328, the procedures that school districts must follow to develop, review, and revise the IEP for each child. The document below sets out the IEP content that those regulations require.
  • U.S. Department of Education – Office of Special Education. This online toolkit brings together the most current and accurate information, including research briefs and resources designed to improve instruction, assessment, and accountability for students with disabilities. The Tool Kit is intended to assist state personnel, schools and families in their efforts to ensure that all students with disabilities receive a quality education.
  • U.S. Department of Education, Special Education & Rehabilitative Services, IDEA 2004 News, Information and Resources. ] A great Web site that offers news, information and resources on IDEA.
  • Wrightslaw Game Plan: Smart IEPs (May 2006). If you are a parent or teacher looking for tools to help write a good IEP with measurable goals and objectives specific to a child’s unique needs, the Wrightslaw Game Plan: Smart IEPs can help. This tool provides a number of tutorials and checklists that will walk you through the process of writing an effective IEP step-by-step, from identifying a child's unique needs to constructing specific, measurable, time-limited goals that target areas of achievement and functional performance that are relevant to the child’s needs. 
  • A Parent’s Guide to Response-to-Intervention (2006). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) includes a provision that allows states and school districts to use high quality, research-based instruction in general and special education to provide services and interventions to students who struggle with learning and may be at risk of or suspected of having learning disabilities. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has written this Guide to provide an overview of the Response-to-Intervention process and its implementation and suggest questions that parents can ask about it. Available in PDF (12 pages, 469 KB).

Parent Organizations (Back to Top)

  • Bridges4Kids. This non-profit parent organization provides a comprehensive system of information and referral for parents and professionals working with children from birth through transition to adult life.
  • National Committee of Parents and Advocates Organized to Protect IDEA.The Committee provides an analysis of the IDEA law.
  • Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights Center. PACER’s mission is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents.
  • Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers. This innovative project supports a unified technical assistance system for the purpose of developing, assisting and coordinating parent training, information projects and community parent resource centers under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • Citizens Alliance to Uphold Special Education (CAUSE) is the Parent Training Information Center for the state of Michigan. CAUSE is a statewide non-profit coalition providing free information, referral, support, advocacy and workshops to parents and professionals working with children with disabilities and special needs.
  • Tool kit on teaching and assessing students with disabilities: Parent’s materials. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education has released a CD version of the Tool Kit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilities: Parents' Materials, designed to assist parents and states in their efforts to work together to raise the achievement of all students with disabilities. The Parent Tool Kit compiles materials identified to augment the previously released CD, Tool Kit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilities, and offers a collection of resources on the same substantive areas addressed, including assessment, instructional practices, behavior, and accommodations. These new documents were written specifically for parents and include information they need as they work with schools to ensure that their children are receiving a quality education.

Parent Advocacy (Back to Top)

  • Advocacy Institute. This non-profit, tax-exempt organization is dedicated to the development of products and services that work to improve the lives of people with disabilities, particularly learning disabilities.
  • Council for Exceptional Children - Policy and Advocacy Services: Understanding IDEA 2004 Regulations. CEC's side-by-side comparison and analysis. Individualized education programs and development of the IEP.
  • Everyone Together. At an individual local network level, Everyone Together seeks to educate parents and increase their advocacy for inclusion of children with disabilities in general education classrooms. Everyone Together seeks to align itself with like-minded organizations and to advocate for the adoption of policies, legislation and practices that support universal education.
  • Family Center. Family Center is a resource designed to support organizations and programs that work with families of children and youth with disabilities. The Center offers a range of information and services on the subject of assistive technologies for organizations, parents, educators and interested friends.
  • Michigan Alliance for Families:  Michigan Alliance for Families provides information, support and education to families of children and adults with disabilities from birth to age 26 who are in the educational system.  The purpose of the project is to increase the involvement of families in their children's education and the educational system in general.
  • Partners in Education. This six-hour, self-directed e-learning course helps parents with children who have developmental disabilities to understand and maximize the benefits of special education services and inclusion for their children.

Listservs (Back to Top)

  • Council for Exceptional Children. CED is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted. CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides continual professional development, advocates for newly and historically underserved individuals with exceptionalities, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.
  • IESNews Listserv. IESNews Listserv is a free service offered by the U.S. Institute of Education Sciences. Subscribers interested in education research, evaluation and statistics automatically receive periodic notification of information available on the IES Web site, including the latest information on such topics as funding and training opportunities, IES-sponsored research, new publications, and education facts and figures from the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • National Organization on Disability. This e-newsletter not only keeps you up-to-date on what’s happening at N.O.D., but also provides you with timely disability news, information and resources from a variety of national and international sources, addressing the participation and contributions of people with disabilities in all aspects of life.
  • Schwab Learning provides vital support, resources and information free of charge to parents of children with learning disabilities and to kids themselves. Services include two Web sites — one designed specifically for parents at SchwabLearning.org and another created expressly for kids at SparkTop.org, as well as outreach and community services.
  • The National Organization on Disability (NOD) E-newsletter. The NOD e-newsletter includes news addressing the participation and contributions of people with disabilities in all aspects of life, including news from NOD as well as disability news, information, and resources from a variety of national and international sources.
  • Wrightslaw. Parents, advocates, educators and attorneys go to IDEA 2004 at Wrightslaw for information about IDEA issues: child find, eligibility, evaluations, reevaluations, high stakes testing, IEPs, accommodations, alternate assessments, educational placements, transition, parental rights and more.

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