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All about IEPs

A new book from special ed law firm Wrightslaw answers all of your IEP questions.

By Valle Dwight

Did you know that the law requires your child’s IEP team to consider assistive technology? Or that your child is entitled to supports for extracurricular activities? Or that you can ask for training so you can help your kid at home?

These tidbits and hundreds more are packed into All About IEPs: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About IEPs, a handy new book by the team at Wrightslaw (Peter Wright, Pamela Wright, and Sandra W. O’Connor). This guide should be required reading for parents of kids in special education and is a good one to bring to every team meeting.

Accessible enough for a total newbie, the book also has information that will come as a surprise to even the most veteran advocate. All About IEPs features 14 chapters' worth of facts, including sections on transition, assistive technology, placement, extended school year, and more. Each chapter starts with the basics and then takes on a Q & A format. The tone is casual (not filled with special ed jargon), and there are specific examples of the topic being discussed. For those who want to dig deeper, the book has pointers to the section in IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, the federal law regulating special education) where that particular issue is covered.

All About IEPs also includes links where parents can find more information on various topics and a helpful glossary for those not conversant in edu-speak.


Valle Dwight is a reporter, writer, and mother of two school-aged boys. She has written for many magazines, including FamilyFun, Wondertime, and Working Mother.

Comments from readers

"Why do we fight the large school district on our own? Why do support groups not band together in support of families who are fighting for what IDEA says is the child's legal rights?"
"Click on the title of the book in the story and it will take you to the Wrightslaw site where you can buy it.."
"Where can I pick up a copy of this IEP guide?"
"They have to consider it, but then they are free to choose not to provide it because they've decided it isn't necessary regardless of documented success/IEE recommendations. If they provide technology, they simply don't provide the program to use the technology with. They are free to choose not to follow medical instructions. They are free to commit perjury and obstruction of justice to get inncocent people prosecuted, but they will offer to drop charges if only the person relieves them of their obligations. People with no funds to wage a legal battle get to then choose to sacrifice their child's education or submit the student to psychological abuse. Some states don't take resolution/oversight seriously. They are even free to violate Title 18 USC Chapter 115 Section 2388. OCR feels Nassau County Board of Education V Arline is okay to base IEPs on. When schgools decide they aren't going to educate a child, they make it too hostile for anyone to endure."