Parent groups can play important roles in supporting students with disabilities by providing families with the information they need to advocate for their children’s educational rights. PAs/PTAs can connect families with specialized nonprofit organizations such as Advocates for Children or IncludeNYC, to provide parents with resources and support for a greater understanding of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and how to advocate for their children to ensure that they are thriving at school.

To support other parents of children with IEPs, Brooklyn parent Olga Garcia-Kaplan ran for the designated IEP parent representative seat on her children’s elementary school’s School Leadership Team (SLT). After she was elected, in an attempt to improve communication among the parents she represented, she started an email network that resulted in a collaborative group of informed and supported parents.