Getting Started: You Are Your Child’s Best Advocate

Getting started with the special education process can be daunting, but the right resources and support can help make it a little easier. Families are children’s best advocates!  Click here to get the Special Education Toolkit


To watch all of the IEP Facilitation Training Video Resources please visit the CADRE Website!


Understanding Federal Disability and Special Needs Policy

An overview of federal disability and special needs policies, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Locating Special Education Services in Your State

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NDCCD): Provides a way for parents to search for special education resources by state.

Parent Training and Information Center(PTIC): PTICs help parents of children with disabilities to gain the knowledge and skills they need to be advocates for their children. The link will help you locate one in your state.

The Technical Assistance ALLIANCE for Parent Centers (the Alliance): A partnership of one national and six regional parent technical assistance centers, each funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). This system exists for the purpose of developing, assisting and coordinating parent training under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Dispute Resolution Contacts

State Complaints Officers
Candace Hawkins, Esq., State Complaints Officer; Email: Phone: 303-866-6311
Lisa Weiss, Esq., State Complaints Officer; Email: Phone: 303-866-6685

State Dispute Resolution Coordinator
Colorado Department of Education Wendy Armstrong, Supervisor for Dispute Resolution and Policy Exceptional Student Leadership Address: Unit 1560 Broadway, Suite 1175 Denver, CO 80202 Email: Phone: 303-866-6685 Fax: 303-866-6767

State Mediation Coordinator
Colorado Department of Education Jennifer Rodriguez, Mediation Coordinator Exceptional Student Leadership Address: Unit 1560 Broadway, Suite 1175 Denver, CO 80202 Email: Phone: 303-866-6889 Fax: 303-866-6767

Special Education:  Tools for Families

Autism KeyThe Autism Friend Finder Program is a unique system that will allow visitors to submit basic contact information through a web-based portal. The data is then shared with anyone residing within a 35-mile radius of their postal zip code. The information will allow individuals facing similar challenges to connect with others in their community.
Coping with Crisis-Helping Children with Special NeedsA guide that provides parents and school personnel with tips on how to assist a student with special needs during a crisis.
The Dyslexia Solution Presents: Reading from ScratchA complete, two-year phonics reading program for dyslectics. Also, contains free information and tips.
Early Learning and Literacy NewsletterThe National Center for Learning Disabilities, Early Learning, and Literacy newsletter highlights activities and tools from Getting Ready to Read, as well as features on transitioning to kindergarten, early math initiatives, education policy and research and the Recognition and Response model.
Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERIC)A national clearinghouse featuring digests, bibliographies, and a searchable database.
E-Ready Special Education Information for Parents and TeachersProvides teachers and other education professionals with information and resources about teaching students with disabilities.
Family & Advocates Partnership for Education (FAPE)Provides families, advocates, and self-advocates with information about IDEA.
IDEA Early Childhood Policy and Practices GuideThis booklet assists early childhood general educators, early childhood special educators, related service providers, parents, administrators and others in understanding what IDEA now requires for young children with disabilities ages birth through five years old and their families.
Identifying and Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderA Resource for School and Home: This free online resource includes information on evaluations and school issues.
National Library Service Talking BooksA free library service available to U.S. residents and citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness or physical handicap makes it difficult to read a standard printed page.
No Child Left Behind: A Parent’s GuideProvides information about No Child Left Behind, including the main provisions of the law, answers to common questions and information on where to find additional resources. Spanish version also available.
Response to Intervention (RTI): A Primer for ParentsThe National Association of School Psychologists has prepared this helpful guide for parents wanting to know more about RTI.
Special ConnectionsConnecting teachers to strategies that help students with special needs successfully access the general education curriculum.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)Provides extensive information on IDEA.
WrightslawProvides accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.

What is Giftedness?

Giftedness, intelligence, and talent are fluid concepts and may look different in different contexts and cultures. Even within schools, you will find a range of beliefs about the word “gifted,” which has become a term with multiple meanings and much nuance. Gifted children may develop asynchronously: their minds are often ahead of their physical growth, and specific cognitive and social-emotional functions can develop unevenly.  Some gifted children with exceptional aptitude may not demonstrate outstanding levels of achievement due to environmental circumstances such as limited opportunities to learn as a result of poverty, discrimination, or cultural barriers; due to physical or learning disabilities; or due to motivational or emotional problems.  This dichotomy between the potential for and demonstrated achievement has implications for schools as they design programs and services for gifted students. Learn More by clicking here.

Common Core State Standards, National Science Standards and Gifted Education

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are K-12 content standards, developed in Mathematics, English Language Arts, and Science, to illustrate the curriculum emphases needed for students to develop the skills and concepts required for the 21st century. The new standards are evidence-based, aligned with expectations for success in college and the workplace, and informed by the successes and failures of the current standards and international competition demands. The standards stress rigor, depth, clarity, and coherence, drawing from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Frameworks in Reading and Writing, the Trends in International and Science Study (TIMMS) report in Mathematics, and the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education in Science. The adoption of the CCSS and NGSS has significant implications for teachers. To learn more Click Here!

Visit the Office of Special Education to learn more.

Visit the Office of Facility Schools to learn more.

Visit the Office of Gifted Education to learn more.

View the Colorado Department of Education’s Special Education Funding 2014-15 Report.

Click Here for a full listing of National Organizations providing supports and resources!

Click Here for an overview of acronyms used in special education and disability policies and programs.

Click Here for more information on Preschool Special Education Services.

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