Parent Support Groups
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Parents of a child with disabilities have been the main force for the development of special education and social services for children with disabilities.
The power of information and local parent support groups are responsible for ensuring educational rights and rights for equal access to all services for people/children with disabilities. Information centers for parents currently are run with federal and state government support.
There are two kinds of federal government supported information centers for parents: 1) Parent Training and Information Centers and 2) Community Parent Resource Center. 106 government-funded parent information centers are currently in operation. They provide the following information:
• understanding the aspects of various disabilities, special education, developmental stages, transition education
• effective communication methods with early intervention and special education teachers and professionals of related services
• rights and responsibilities of the federal law for special needs children, IDEA
• how to actively participate in an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) and Individual Education Plan (IEP) for necessary and appropriate services
• how to minimize disagreements and how to implement an effective coping strategy before legal action, due process
• how to introduce and network information and organizations by local, state, and federal governments. These centers generally provide information in both English and Spanish.
Parent support groups in California are organized through Regional Centers. According to the local ethnic composition, each regional center provides various ethnic parents’ groups. For example, a regional center, heavily populated with Korean and Spanish speaking people such as Lanterman Regional Center, has Korean parent support group and Spanish-speaking parent support group meetings regularly. Contact information for the Korean parent support group is as follows:
• Korean Parent Support Group
• For Korean-speaking families of children with special needs.
Contacts: Myoung-Hee Lim (SC), 213.252.6624 or Meeha Hwang (SC), 213.252.6644
Parent support groups with government support as well as local disability organizations provide parent education and information. Ask other parents of your local school for local parent support group information. If no parent support group locally exists, even one or two parents with leadership can start researching rights for education, employment, daily life, and local/communal living through the English information providers from the organizations mentioned above.