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A Parent's Guide to Special Education

Parents and family members are critical partners, along with school district personnel, in the education of their children. Parents provide essential information to teachers and administrators, play an important role in decisions made about their children and can be a key to supporting high expectations for their children during their school years.

The New York State Board of Regents and the State Education Department have set high goals for educational programs and services for students with disabilities in New York. Among them are:

  • All students will meet high standards for academic performance and personal behavior and demonstrate the knowledge and skills required by a dynamic world.
  • All educational institutions will meet Regents high performance standards.
  • The public will be served by qualified, ethical professionals who remain current with best practice in their fields and reflect the diversity of New York State.
  •  Education, information and cultural resources will be available and accessible to all people.

The Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) strategic plan is driven by a vision that is based on the belief that individuals with disabilities, given high expectations, opportunities and support when necessary, will live successful adult lives. Children learn to become independent adults, contributing to society and participating in the community through quality educational and social experiences with their
peers. The Rehabilitation Act of 1992 states clearly that disability is a natural part of the human experience and that individuals with disabilities have the right to:

  • live independently.
  • contribute to society.
  • pursue meaningful careers.
  • enjoy self-determination.
  • make choices.
  • enjoy integration in the economic, political, social, cultural and educational mainstream of American society.

This document provides information for parents, guardians and other family members about laws, regulations and policies affecting special education programs and services. However, these protections, rights and opportunities will best help students reach their full potential when parents, families and schools work collaboratively. Setting high expectations for students and high standards for programs will provide the greatest opportunities for a successful adult life.