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Parent Special Education Information

PACER is the Minnesota Parent Training and Information Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs.

Top 10 Topics: Parents Concerns and Matching Resources

The statement that “knowledge is power” is especially true for parents who want to be effective advocates for their children with disabilities. To make sure parents have the information they need most, PACER conducted a survey, and nearly a thousand people responded. Given a list of choices, parents of children from each age group indicated their top three concerns. This PACER Action Sheet provides a selection of helpful information to address each topic from a variety of national and statewide organizations. As Albert Einstein said, “Know where to find the information and how to use it — that's the secret of success.”

Parents of children from birth to 5

1. Helping my child make adequate progress
pdf Milestone Moments Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Learn the Signs. Act Early
website Toddlers, and Families Make the Most of Playtime Zero to Three National Center for Infants
video How Will I Know If My Child Is Making Progress? 40-minute recorded webinar: PACER Center
pdf How to Communicate Effectively with Early Childhood Professionals PACER Center
2. Understanding the special education process and how it works for my young child
website Understanding the Special Education Process: An Overview for Parents PACER Center
website Special Education Services for Preschoolers with Disabilities Center for Parent Information and Resources
website Help Me Grow - Trusted parenting information, resources, and activities to help your child grow, develop and learn Help Me Grow

PACER guidebooks  

PACER Center
3. Transition to Kindergarten  
website Kindergarten Transition: A Parent's Guide to Success National Education Association
pdf Off to School: Preparing You and Your Child for the Transition to Kindergarten PACER’s Early Childhood Connections Newsletter
pdf How to Prepare Your Child with Disabilities for Kindergarten Tips for Parents
pdf Making the Move to Kindergarten PACER Center

Parents of children ages 6 to 13

1. My child’s social or emotional needs at school
website Making Relationships a Priority
website Ideas for Encouraging Children's Friendships through Recreation Institute on Community Integration (ICI), Impact Newsletter
pdf Tantrums, Tears, and Tempers: Behavior Is Communication PACER Center
2. Helping my child make adequate progress
website Learning Disabilities: Parent Tips LD OnLine
pdf Plan Ahead for Academic Success Using the IEP Meeting Checklist PACER Center
pdf How Will I Know If My Child Is Making Progress? PACER Center
3. Appropriate accommodations so my child can participate in the general education classroom
website Supports, Modifications, and Accommodations for Students Center for Parent Information and Resources
pdf Minnesota Manual of Accommodations, Tool 2.1, page 33 Inclusion Needs that May Require Accommodations
website Statewide Assessment:Students with Disabilities Minnesota Department of Education
website School Accommodations and Modifications Center for Parent Information & Resources

Parents of children ages 14 to 21

1. Availability of resources and supports after high school
website Young People and Benefits: Learn how to manage school, work, and benefits Minnesota Disability Benefits 101 (DB101)
video Making a Smooth Transition from High School to Adult Living: Successful Collaboration; Recorded webinar PACER Center
2. Education after high school
website Postsecondary Education Transition Resources PACER's National Parent Center on Transition and Employment
website Preparing Students with Intellectual Disabilities for College: Tips for Parents and Teachers Think College, Impact: Feature Issue on Postsecondary Education and Students with Intellectual, Developmental and Other Disabilities
website Postsecondary Enrollment Options Minnesota Department of Education
pdf College or Training Programs: How to Decide PACER Center
3. Employment after high school
website Preparing for Employment: On the Home Front National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET)
website Navigating the Road to Work: Family National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD)
website Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success: Tips for Parents and Families NCWD
website Preparing for Employment PACER's National Parent Center on Transition and Employment

Bonus Topic: PACER Advocates’ Choice

PACER’s parent advocates, who are also parents of children with disabilities, added one more essential topic to this Top Ten list:

1. My child’s ability to be a self-advocate
website Self-determination resources for transition-aged youth PACER's National Parent Center on Transition and Employment
pdf How You Can Help Your Child Learn to Be a Good Self Advocate PACER Center
pdf Be Your Own Best Advocate PACER Center

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