Three Questions For Amanda Morin: Author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education
Amanda Morin is an early intervention specialist, education writer, special education advocate and mother of two children with special needs. Her latest book, The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education, aims to demystify the special education process and empower parents. We asked her the following three questions about her book…
1.Tell us how you were inspired to write “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” book?
Writing The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education was sort of one of those situations in which everything in your life lines up and points you in a certain direction. My two youngest children have special needs, but we had a particularly difficult time getting an appropriate school program into place for my middle son. His IEP was something we had to fight very hard for and it only happened after things deteriorated to a point where he ended up in a hospital-school setting for over two months.
As an educator and advocate, I had the benefit of knowing how the system works; what our rights were; what the school’s responsibilities are and how the process works. But it was still hard to navigate. I started to wonder, “what happens to kids whose parents are intimidated or don’t know this stuff”? Around that time, I had just finished my first book, The Everything Kids’ Learning Activities Book, and my editor wanted to know if I had ideas for the next one. So, I jumped at the chance to write a book to demystify the special education process for parents.
2. Give us a snapshot about your book and the topics you cover?
In the introduction of the book, I say that it’s designed to answer the question “What’s next?” before you even have to ask it. At its most basic, this book is a walk-through of the special education process; it begins by explaining what special education is and the laws that can apply to your child’s school experience. From there, I start helping parents wade through the confusing acronyms and “intitial-isms” they might hear, the different categories of disability, how to keep track of and talk to the school about concerns, what happens after your child is referred for evaluation, how to prepare for IEP meetings and so on.
But, it also gives tips and advice on how to deal with sticky situations that might arise including how to talk about what you think your child’s program should look like, and giving “if the school says this, you can say that” kinds of solutions. Along the way, there’s actionable ways for parents to get involved, stay involved and feel confident they are their child’s advocate. There are also form letters for all types of situations, sample forms and a resource section.
3.What do you hope the reader takes away from your book!
My goal is for readers to feel like they have an advocate at their side, but one who is going to turn that role over to them once they feel comfortable enough to fill it. I want readers to feel hopeful, purposeful, educated and able to step into conversations and meetings feeling confident that they are a critical and equal member of their child’s team.
Read Amanda’s article: “TIPS to Keep on Top of Your Child’s IEP”