Parent Resources

Parent Information

Special Education/IDEA

Access for All
Created by the Office of Digital Learning at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, this web page offers guidance and resources for Massachusetts schools and families in providing assistive technology and accessible instructional materials to students with disabilities

Guidance for Parent Advisory Councils
This guidance document was designed to ensure that every special education parent advisory council operating in the state understands the capacity and potential that they have to collaborate with the school community to influence special education programs and policies in their district.

A Parent’s Guide to Special Education

Written collaboratively by the Federation for Children with Special Needs and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, “A Parent’s Guide to Special Education” was developed to serve as a resource for parents and the organizations that serve them.

A Parent’s Guide to Selecting A Special Education Advocate in Massachusetts Download PDF Document

Written collaboratively by the Federation for Children with Special Needs and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, “A Parent’s Guide to Selecting A Special Education Advocate in Massachusetts” was developed to assist parents in choosing an advocate in the Special Education process when needed.

Notice of Procedural Safeguards (Parent’s Rights Brochure)

English and Translated Versions

The Parent’s Rights Brochure is designed to assist the parent in understanding the special education process, and the rights of the parent’s when their child has been referred for or is receiving special education services.

Parent’s Rights in Special Education

This training consisting of a PowerPoint Presentation and Presentation Handouts, has been prepared to assist districts and their Parent Advisory Councils for Special Education to meet the state requirement of an annual workshop on the rights of students and parents or guardians in relation to state and federal special education laws.
Help for Viewing PowerPoint Presentation

Disability Definitions and Related Links

Definitions of each of the Massachusetts disability categories, and resources for each disability.

Best Practices in Early Childhood Transition Download PDF Document
Written collaboratively by the Department of Early Education and Care, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, “Best Practices in Early Childhood Transition” was developed to serve as a guide for families as their children transition from Early Intervention Services into a preschool program.

Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act

IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and American with Disabilities Act

This is a publication for parents explaining the differences between IDEA, Section 504 and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). This site helps parents to find services and supports as identified under the law.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

This website provides information about the differences in these two pieces of legislations and the rights and protections of students with disabilities.

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education is providing the information in this pamphlet to explain the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools.

Program Quality Assurance (PQA)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education may be contacted regarding Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act concerning rights of covered students, ages 3-22, through its complaint management programs administered by the Program Quality Assurance (PQA) Unit.

United States, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

The federal government has general responsibility for overseeing compliance (technical assistance and enforcement) of Section 504 and the ADA. For matters involving the enforcement of civil rights in education environments (for persons of any age, including colleges/universities and adult education), contact:

Office for Civil Rights, New England Office

U.S. Department of Education

5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor

Boston, MA 02109

Telephone: 617-289-0111

TDD: 877-521-2172

Email: OCR.Boston@ed.gov

Massachusetts Organizations/Resources

Arc Massachusetts

Arc Massachusetts is a statewide volunteer educational and advocacy organization dedicated to helping individuals with specific developmental disabilities.

Family TIES

Family TIES of Massachusetts is a statewide information and parent-to-parent support project for families of children with special needs and chronic illness.

Federation for Children with Specials Needs

The Federation is a center for parents and parent organizations to work together on behalf of children with special needs and their families.

Massachusetts Association of Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (MASSPAC)

The mission of MassPac is to work towards the understanding of, respect for, support and appropriate education for all children with special needs in our respective communities.

Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC)

The mission of MFOFC is to provide sustained advocacy and leadership training in pursuit of high quality, individualized community support and service options, including family support, for people with disabilities and their families.

Massachusetts Public, Charter, Private, Collaborative, and Approved Private Special Education Schools

Directory and Profiles

The Parent Professional Advocacy League (PAL)

PAL is the statewide chapter of the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. PAL provides support, education, and advocacy around issues related to children’s mental health.

National Organizations/Resources

Considering Your Child’s Need for Assistive Technology

LD Online describes IDEA’s requirement to consider the need for assistive technology in all IEPs and offers common uses of assistive technology for students with learning disabilities.

Assistive Technology Evaluation Guide for Students with Learning Disabilities Guide Download PDF Document

LD Online offer several tools to assist with the evaluation process: a form listing areas to be considered, a list of critical questions for consideration, plus a quick guide to No Tech/Low Tech/High Tech materials, equipment and technology tools.

New England INDEX

New England INDEX, a project of the UMass Medical School located at the Shriver Center, provides information about programs and agencies, physicians, dentists, and consultants that serve people with disabilities. INDEX also coordinates the Mass Network of Information Providers (MNIP), a multi-agency collaboration that provides telephone information and referral at over 50 sites across the state (800-642-0249).

Special Education Areas of Study

Special Education Areas of Study from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia