Special Education

Parent Information


Special Education/IDEA

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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.

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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.

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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.

Parent's Guide to Special Education In Massachusetts Logo
Parent's Guide to Special Education and accompanying online, interactive module
This online, interactive guide has been developed as a complement to the Parent's Guide to Special Education (Parent's Guide). The Parent's Guide and accompanying module was developed to assist families in understanding the Special Education process and the supports and services that children with disabilities need to succeed in school. Both the Parent Guide and module highlight Massachusetts' special education systems. The Parent's Guide and module were designed for families who have children with disabilities and agencies who support them.

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A Parent's Guide to Selecting A Special Education Advocate in Massachusetts
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.

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Links to Advocacy Organizations

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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.

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

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Best Practices in Early Childhood Transition
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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Problem Resolution System
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 Problem Resolution System Office.

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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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).

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

 
Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370

Directions

Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.