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Parents are an important part of the lives of children with disabilities.
Parents have unique opportunities to promote and assist their child with disabilities to reach the full potential. Also, parents of a child with disabilities experience emotional pressure and financial difficulties in raising both a child with disabilities and his/her non-disabled siblings at the same time, as well as nurturing their marital relationship. Parents of a child with disabilities must be assertive in advocating for their child's educational rights at school and make sure to teach independent living skills and self-help skills at home. Families take part in all of the individuals’ lives, from birth to starting school, finding appropriate services, knowing individuals’ interests, strengths and needs, guidance in career and college planning, and encouragement to pursue their dreams.
Special education laws assure/insure(?) the parents' roles and rights in their children's education, and parents must strongly assert their and their children's rights in many areas such as assessment, diagnosis, educational goals, educational environments, related services, teacher assistants or aides, and medical treatments in the development of their children's IEPs.
Parents must have proper training and knowledge to take care of all the needs that the individual might encounter, such as medical issues, educational needs, and emotional support. Parents of people with disabilities also need support from family members and community. It is critical that parents develop a network to share information, and to converse with understanding among themselves instead of dealing with the difficulties as their own individual challenges. For the newly starting parents and parents with no information or experience, sharing necessary information through the CATS cafe can be ideal.