Best Advocacy Books for Special Education

Book reviews of my recommendations for the best books for advocating for your child in special education.

Advocating for a quality, appropriate education for your child can be an exhausting experience. Many time it works out well, but there are times when you fell out of your league, alone and undereducated yourself. These books can help you understand your rights for a special education for your child and how the special education system actually works.

Your Special Education RightsYour Special Education Rights: What Your School District Isn't Telling You
By Jennifer Laviano and Julie Swanson

An special education attorney and special education advocate team up in this fascinating book to give you a clear view of behind the scenes of the special education process of getting your child a quality education. They cover all aspects of special education including coping with and succeeding with diagnoses, IEPS, 404s, meetings, education, and getting adequate resources for your child. The unique focus of this book is the hidden influences impacting the school's decision process - such as cost, staffing, school policies, and internal politics. This information will continue to be helpful for years and will not go out of date. I wish this book had been available when my child was in school - it is so informed, sympathetic and practical.
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Complete IEPComplete IEP Guide, The: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child
by Lawrence M. Siegel

This is an outstanding guide to the IEP process and I recommend it to any parent who is having difficulty getting an IEP for their child. It provides a very good overview on many important facets of the IEP, including who is eligible, who can be at the meeting, the types of items an IEP can cover, when or if to use an attorney, and much more. I have been to more IEP meetings than I can count and I still learned a lot from this book. It is revised every few years so be sure to get the most recent version. Highly recommended for in-depth legal information.
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Off the Fence Off the Fence : Disability Advocacy
by Pat Linkhorn

Written with honesty and hard won experience, the author is a professional advocate with a number of school districts and the mother to two girls with special needs. She describes her personal experiences as a mother and an professional in securing services for children with special needs. Her stories offer an in-depth look at working within the bureaucracy to get your child the services they need. Parents and professionals will both find much to learn in her musings and stories.
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Complete Guide to Special Education The Complete Guide to Special Education: Expert Advice on Evaluations, IEPs, and Helping Kids Succeed
by Linda Wilmshurst, Alan W. Brue

Here is an overview of the special needs education system for those new to the process. Provides information on your legal rights and the process, from identification through the IEP. A companion book to your journey through the education system, with special emphasis on IEPs and disability labeling in the schools.
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autism and special education Autism: Asserting Your Child's Rights to a Special Education
by David A. Sherman

This comprehensive resource reviews your child's education from early intervention prior to pre-school through the transition process from high school. It covers legal aspects of special education including IEP meetings, extended school year, least restrictive environment, section 504, and obtaining outside services. It includes a lot of specialized information on the law and how to get services with due process.
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Differently Wired Differently Wired - Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World
by Deborah Reber

Encouragement for parents raising a child with special needs, with emphasis on children who have "invisible" but obvious disabilities such as autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, sensory integration, etc. Her book focuses on parenting children and getting support, including from yourself, in this difficult task. She encourages parents to reframe how they look at their children and their differences. It also provides excellent suggestions on advocating for your child.
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