Submitted by Kodey Toney
A clinic to help parents of disabled children navigate the Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), understand the laws and advocate for children will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 11 at Carl Albert State College in Sallisaw.
IEPs are scary. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. They can be a real pain in the backside. However, I will say they are much less frightening if you know a little about them. I always tell parents that a school will know if you are educated on the laws of IEPs.
A vast majority of the questions that we receive at the Pervasive Parenting Center (PPC) are about IEPs. The grant that we recently received is to help families in this area better understand them, and to give them assistance in advocating for the student. I have been doing this for a few years now, and while I am nowhere near what I would call an expert, I will say that I have quite a bit of training to help families. If you feel you need help contact me and I will assist in any way that I can.
That being said, the PPC decided that we would try to put on a clinic to help families in the area better understand the law, navigate the system, and know where to turn if you feel you are not getting the assistance your child needs. We have put together the IEP Boot Camp to be held March 11 at Carl Albert State College in Sallisaw. This is a day-long workshop that will include some of the top advocates in the state, and nation. That’s right, we have state and nationally-recognized advocates coming in to help you better your child’s education.
Why wouldn’t you take advantage of this? If it’s money that you are worried about this is a FREE conference. That’s right, FREE. In fact we will even provide lunch for you if you register ahead of time.
If it is childcare or gas money that you are worried about we will provide a $50 stipend to help you offset the cost, if you register and fill out a form ahead of time.
We know that it is difficult to find time, money, and ways to attend these meetings, so we are working to make things as easy as possible. Besides, what is more important that helping your child get all the things they need to advance in school and in life?
My good friend and mentor Wanda Felty, from the Center for Learning and Leadership, will give the keynote speech to start the day. She is a mother of a person with a disability and has worked with the school systems for more than 20 years. She will share her experiences and give you advice in helping to negotiate. She has advocated for people with disabilities nationally and has a wealth of knowledge to share.
We will have Shawna Keene from the Oklahoma Department of Education. She is a behavioral specialist in the special education services office. She will discuss the ins and outs of getting an IEP from your school, and help you understand the process.
Deidra Edwards from the Oklahoma Parents Center will be on hand to give you the basics of an IEP. What you need to know to get the services you need. While this is a basic training I learn something new each time I see it, and she will answer questions as you go along.
The final part of the day will include a presentation by Kayla Bower, Esquire. Kayla, another friend and mentor, is the executive director of the Oklahoma Disability Law Center. She will talk to everyone about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) law, and give you information you need to know about the law to use within your advocacy for your children. She will explain why it is important to know the law.
A little of her bio reads, “Ms. Bower graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Law in 1979. She is licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Federal District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. She is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, the American Association of Justice and the National Disability Rights Network. She has made presentations to national, state, and local organizations and governmental agencies, including the Oklahoma Children's Court Program.”
This will be worth your time. I promise! Please take the time to attend. When will you have an opportunity to get this much assistance so close to home again. This is about an hour drive from anywhere in our four-county coverage area.
Please register ahead of time so we will know how much food to buy.
The registration link is: https://www.eventbrite.com/myevent?eid=31136654572.
This is open to professionals and educators as well.
If you have any questions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 918-658-5076.
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