Going back to school for your child with disabilities

School is back in session. All families are making adjustments. It may seem overwhelming right now to support your child with disabilities. Maybe you are new to advocating for you child and want to learn more. Or maybe your child’s education plan is still working well, but some aspects need more support at this time. Whatever your family situation is, there are resources that can help.

It’s a good idea to read and understand your child’s IEP or 504 Plan. If you don’t have a current copy, contact your school district’s special education office. For help to better understand the IEP and special education in general, contact Raising Special Kids, Arizona’s Parent Training Center.

Remember, even though your child is learning from home, the school is required to provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and your child must be able to access that education.

Guidance from the Arizona Department of Education on schools during COVID-19 changes frequently. The Federal Department of Education also updates guidance on issues of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Stay current by checking out their websites regularly.

You are not alone. Many parents across the country are finding ways to help their children succeed. For more information, see the results of the survey What Do Parents Think about Special Education During COVID-19 School Closures?  

Resources for you

Your Special Education Rights

Negotiating the Special Education Maze

The Complete IEP Guide


Wrightslaw: Coronavirus FAQs, parent training, webinar, and podcasts.

U.S. Dept of Education/IDEA: Links to COVID-19 related IDEA updates are listed at the bottom of the home page. For information on learning about IDEA and your rights, go to the Parents/Families under the Resources tab.

Arizona Depart of Education-Special Education Exceptional School Services: ESS ensures that public education agencies in Arizona have special education programs, policies, and procedures that comply with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its implementing regulations, and that eligible children and youth with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE)

Arizona Center for Disability Law: An excellent three-part blog, Back to School for Students with Disabilities (Aug 10–13, 2020), explains on-site learning, distance learning plans, preschool services, and more. Available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language.

The Pacer Center: Champions for Children with Disabilities: Has Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for families, with some information in Spanish and Somali. Topics include: transitioning at age 3; mental and emotional wellness; distance learning and resolving disputes, and more.

Raising Special Kids: You can also call (800) 237-3007. Raising Special Kids provided support, training, information and individual assistance so families can become effective advocates for their children.

Visit Learn at Home for even more great resources, including:

  • Free online tutoring
  • Online tools available 24x7x365
  • Recommended items from our collection that you can pick up curbside