A Guide to Special Education Advocacy

I came across A Guide to Special Education Advocacy, by Matthew Cohen by chance on the new books shelf at the Mendenhall Valley Library here in Juneau. It has detailed up-to-date information on the 2004 reauthorization of IDEA and the IDEA 2006 regulations. This book should be very helpful to any parent trying to advocate for their child, as well as classroom and special education teachers and administrators because of the detailed information on federal regulations regarding IDEA and Section 504, with specific CFR citations.

The book also contains a comparison of Section 504 plans versus IDEA 2004.  It dispels the idea that Section 504 is only applicable to students with health issues, and explains when one is preferable to the other. "Each law has advantages for children with disabilities depending on the circumstances of the child, the school, and the particular issue. At the most general level, IDEA is more likely to be of use to children who require a greater intensity of specialized instructional services and/or related services, who have more complex needs, and/or when there is a greater need for specificity in planning for the child, protecting the child’s procedural rights, or holding the school accountable regarding issues of implementation. By contrast, Section 504 is typically of greater utility if the child’s needs are less complex, if the child has a disability that does not qualify him or her for special education, or when the child needs only accommodations, as opposed to special education" (p. 236).