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10 Traits of Effective Parents in Navigating the Special Education System


10 Traits of Effective Parents in Navigating the Special Education System


Navigating the Special Education System

Advocating for children in the special education system can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience for parents. Parents of children who require special education services quickly learn that they must be attentive and zealous advocates to help their children obtain the supports and placements that they need to make meaningful educational progress. When the system works in a way that allows a child to reach his potential, it is extremely rewarding for parents to see that their advocacy made a difference.

Over the past decade I have worked with hundreds of families to help them obtain special education services for their children. Through my work with these families, it has become obvious to me that those parents who are best able to navigate the intricacies of the special education process share several common traits. Many articles have been written by attorneys –including me – that list the common mistakes made by parents in seeking special education services. In this series of articles, I want to take a more positive approach by describing the most productive qualities and practices of those parents who I have seen most effectively advocate for their children. Below are links to a series of tips on navigating the special education system.

Trait # 1: Effective Parents are Involved in Their Child’s Education

Trait # 2: Effective Parents are Aware of Their Child’s Disability and Their Strengths and Weaknesses

Trait # 3: Effective Parents Have an Understanding of Special Education Rules and Regulations

Trait # 4: Effective Parents Maintain Accurate, Complete and Organized Records

Trait # 5: Effective Parents Cooperate and Share Information with their Child’s Teachers and Special Education Team

Trait # 6: Effective Parents Maintain a Cordial and Professional Relationship with School Staff

Trait # 7: Effective Parents Build a Team of Professionals to Evaluate and Advocate for their Children


We will be posting 10 traits in this series of articles, so please check back for more “traits of effective parents” in the coming weeks.