‘Special’ advice

“You, Your Child, and Special Education,” by Barbara Coyne Cutler, is an informative guide for parents of special needs children. The book, in simple and easy-to-read language, helps these parents negotiate the often murky and confusing waters of the public education system. Cutler offers encouragement as parents wade through the tangles and webs of bureaucratic red tape to get the best possible services for their child.

Let’s face it: every parent wants what’s best for their kid, and Cutler provides the means in an empathetic, candid way so that parents can take advantage of the necessary programs for their special needs child.

In this latest revision, parents learn not only the legal entitlements and available options, but how they can best provide the most appropriate education, from Pre-K through graduation and beyond.

Cutler offers straightforward advice and step-by-step instructions on how to arrange, prepare for and conduct classroom observations; on how the school system works and how to navigate the power structure of the school system, including school politics and the best way to effectively negotiate with school personnel; how to discuss your questions, concerns, and observations with a teacher; how to get the best possible Individualized Education Program from the first notice to the final resolution and most importantly, how to say “no” and fight for their child’s rights if the individualized program is not acceptable. And finally, she offers advice on how to monitor and implement the child’s program.

Cutler also provides listings of hundreds of disability-related organizations and agencies, associations and groups, and the appendix full of Web sites is an invaluable resource guide that can be easily accessed through your computer.

“You, Your Child, and Special Education: A Guide to Dealing with the System,” Revised Edition by Barbara Coyne Cutler with Sue Pratt; Brookes Publishing, 312 pages, $24.95.

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