Family Network on Disabilities

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Tools That Empower Spanish-Speaking Parents

Tools That Empower Spanish-Speaking Parents

Links updated, July 2017
A resource page for Parent Centers
Compiled by Myriam Alizo, CPIR

Latino parents hugging their two boys

Download this page as an adaptable, accessible Word document

Many Parent Centers provide information and training to Spanish-speaking parents of children with disabilities. In fact, in the last year, more than 27% of the families served by Parent Centers received their services in Spanish. CPIR is pleased to share with Parent Centers this “starter” list of tools that can empower Spanish-speaking parents and support the bilingual work that so many Parent Centers do.

Starting Tools and Legal Foundations

OSEP English-Spanish Glossary
A practical and useful glossary of terms used in the Individuals with Disabilities Act, with their Spanish translations. The glossary is a valuable translation tool for families, Parent Centers, Part C lead agencies, state education agencies, school districts, and service providers across the U.S. and territories who work with children with disabilities and their families.

Schools’  Obligations to English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents
Multiple resources from the Federal Government, including fact sheets in English and in other languages about schools’ obligations under federal law (a) to ensure that English learner students can participate meaningfully and equally in school; and (b) to communicate information to limited English proficient parents in a language they can understand.

Education and Language Access Rights of Immigrant Students and Families 
This guide in Spanish (Derechos de Educación de las Familias y Estudiantes Inmigrantes) provides an overview of the education and language access rights of immigrant and limited English proficient children and families.

Letter to Schools about Language Access
From SPAN of New Jersey, this letter, in English and Spanish, contains information about the right of parents to have information in their language so they can be effective participants in their children’s education.  It can be completed by parents and shared with their school district.

Basic Rights of Parents

The following resources are written directly to parents, answering questions about their parental rights and special education services, including how to exercise those rights through letters and email.

Questions Often Asked by Parents about Special Education Services  (in English) |  Preguntas Comunes de los Padres sobre la Educación Especial  (in Spanish)
This Q&A explains in parent-friendly language such special education “basics” as the evaluation process under IDEA, how special education can support children’s learning, how eligibility and placement are decided, the writing of the IEP, and more.

Parental Rights under IDEA (in English) | Derechos de los Padres bajo IDEA (in Spanish)
The federal regulations for IDEA 2004 include a section (Subpart E) called Procedural Safeguards. These safeguards are designed to protect the rights of parents and their child with a disability and, at the same time, give families and school systems several mechanisms by which to resolve their disputes.

What Are Public Schools Required to Do When Students with Disabilities Are Bullied? (in English) |  ¿Que deben hacer las escuelas públicas cuando los estudiantes con discapacidades son acosados? (in Spanish)
A fact sheet for parents on schools’ obligations under federal law to address bullying.

Discussing a Problem (in English) |  Cómo Escribir una Carta para Discutir un Problema (in Spanish, see pages 6-7)
Sometimes a child may have a particular problem at school. Parents may have talked to their child’s teacher about this concern, exchanged notes back and forth or talked on the phone. If it seems like nothing is happening to resolve the parent’s concern, then the parent may want to write a formal letter. Here’s a model to follow.

Requesting a Copy of Your Child’s Records (in English) |  Cómo Solicitar los Expedientes Escolares de Su Niño  (in Spanish)
IDEA gives parents the right to look at all of their child’s education records. Parents also have the right to ask the school to explain and interpret the records. This brief explanation includes other basic facts about this parental right, as well as a model letter that parents can use to request a copy of their child’s records.

Requesting an Initial Evaluation for Special Education Services (in English) |  Cómo Solicitar una Evaluación de Su Niño (in Spanish)
If the school thinks that a child may have a disability, they will contact parent to ask their written permission to evaluate the child. Parents also have the right to ask the school to evaluate their child to see if he or she has a disability and needs special education services. This article briefly explains this parental right and includes a model letter that parents can use to request such an evaluation.

Requesting Prior Written Notice (in English) |  Cómo Solicitar una Notificación Previa por Escrito (in Spanish)
What is prior written notice, and why would a parent need or want to request it from their child’s school? This short explanation includes a model letter for parents to use.

Requesting an Independent Educational Evaluation of Your Child (in English) |  Cómo Solicitar una Evaluación Independiente (in Spanish)
IDEA gives parents the right to have their child evaluated by someone other than the staff who work for the school system. Why would parents want such an independent educational evaluation of their child, and who pays for it?  The short explanation includes a model letter for parents to use.

Requesting a Meeting to Review Your Child’s Individualized Education Program (in English |  Cómo Solicitar una Reunión para Revisar el IEP de Su Niño (in Spanish)
Parents are members of the team that writes their child’s IEP.  As an IEP team member, parents can ask that their child’s IEP be reviewed and revised, if needed. This article looks at writing such a letter.

Requesting a Change in Your Child’s Placement (in English) | Cómo Solicitar un Cambio en la Ubicación de Su Niño (in Spanish)
Parents might want to request a change in their child’s placement if they feel that their child’s needs are not being met appropriately. This article discusses the when, why, and how a parent may wish to write the school to request such a change.

Informing the School that You Intend to Place Your Child in a Private School at Public Expense (in English ) |  Cómo Informar a la Escuela de que Ud. Tiene la Intención de Matricular a su Hijo en una Escuela Privada al Costo del Público  (in Spanish)
Sometimes parents may feel that a recommended public school placement is not appropriate for their child. Parent may reject that placement and decide to enroll the child in a private school. If parents want the public school to pay for the cost of the private school, there are several things they need to know. This article provides that information and a model letter for parents to use.

Resolving Conflicts

The resources below are also written directly to parents. Each explains a dispute resolution option open to parents and schools and includes a model letter for parents.

Requesting mediation to resolve a conflict (in English) |  Cómo solicitar la mediación (in Spanish)

Requesting a due process hearing to resolve a conflict (in English) | Cómo solicitar una audiencia de proceso legal debido (in Spanish)

Filing a complaint with the State to resolve a conflict (in English) |  Cómo presentar una queja estatal (in Spanish)

SOURCE ARTICLE:  Center for Parent Information and Resources