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Top 10 Web Sites About Autism and Education


Updated June 08, 2008

Special education law is a complex topic. If you're very lucky, you'll only need to know a little about the subject. If you're like most parents of children with autism, you'll need to know quite a bit. You may even need to know what your legal rights are as a parent, how to find a special education advocate or lawyer, and how to initiate a due process hearing or lawsuit. These websites including everything you ever wanted to know about special education law -- and a little bit more!

1. Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw is probably the biggest and most comprehensive special education site on the Web. Not only does the site explain and discuss special education law in exhaustive depth, but it also includes a Yellow Pages section where parents can find listings for advocates and special education lawyers in their local area.

2. The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

This huge site includes a terrific state-by-state resource list of service organizations, educational organizations, parent groups and resources. Its database can also steer you to publications, people and advocacy groups across the United States.

3. US Department of Education Website

It's a chore to plow through the Department of Education's many documents about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). But all the information is right here: the act itself, its regulations, info about upcoming informational sessions, toolkits, funding information... in fact, if you're seriously interesting in special ed and the law, you'll need this site!

4. Autism Education Net

This site is dedicated specifically to information about education law as it applies to children on the autism spectrum. Potentially more useful than its articles, which are similar to those on other sites, is its database of experienced parents willing to coach others in their geographic area.

5. AboutAutismLaw

This is a commercial site, created by a special education lawyer -- and some sections are clearly "commercial-like." That said, it really is a very useful site for parents who think their child may be autistic, may need special education, or are considering legal action when services or IEP accomodations are not being addressed.

6. National Center for Learning Disabilities

While not strictly speaking an autism site, the National Center for Learning Disabilities has compiled a terrific special education resource. LD News, a free newsletter from the Center, addresses specific topics like assistive technology. Parents are also encouraged to submit questions. A good place to turn for concrete information on particular subjects.

7. Autism Society of America

This page on the ASA site offers a generalized overview of special education for the child with autism. It also includes links to further information.

8. The Council for Exceptional Children

Information on special education including laws, federal acts, best practices, inclusion and more are all gathered together in this massive site. The up side is -- it's all right here. The only down side is -- it applies to all disabilities, which means you'll need to find the information that applies to your child.

9. Educating Children with Autism

This is an online book, available free through the National Academies Press. It provides a good, solid overview of how the public education system sees children with autism and their families -- and provide some insight into perceived "best practices."

10. No Child Left Behind and Special Education Law

Many feel that No Child Left Behind is in direct contradiction to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. And they may be right. Meanwhile, however, the Department of Education claims that the new IDEA law will better support children with special needs. Read about just how this is supposed to work -- and draw your own conclusions!

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