The Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy is an organization that helps families across the state of Washington to access both health and education support for children, youth and adults with Autism and Developmental Disabilities.
This project, funded by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and housed at Seattle University, provides statewide professional development, technical assistance, consultation, and training for students, parents, and educators to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) provides information about state special education services provided through public schools. Included is student assessment and dispute resolution information.
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, OCR, provides an online complaint form.
The U.S. Department of Education released guidance to assist the public in understanding how the Department interprets and enforces federal civil rights laws protecting the rights of students with disabilities, including: a parent and educator resource guide; a Dear Colleague letter (DCL) and question and answer document on the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools; and a DCL and question and answer documents on the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools.
The Washington State Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) provides services for Washington residents who are blind or have visual impairments. Services may include job counseling, assistive technology, school-to-work transition, and more. Visit the DSB website for more information and to request services online.
Learn about filing a citizen complaint with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). A citizen complaint is a written statement to OSPI alleging that a federal or state special education rule or law has been violated.
CLEAR is the statewide intake line for free and low-cost civil legal aid in Washington. Individuals with low incomes and legal issues may receive legal resources, information, and referrals to legal services providers in their geographic area. In King County, individuals may access these services by calling 2-1-1. Otherwise, individuals may reach CLEAR by calling 1 (888) 201-1014 or use the online intake form on the website. Seniors (people age 60 and over) can access intake by calling CLEAR*Sr at 1 (888) 387-7111. Veterans may dial 1 (855) 657-8387.
Washington LawHelp is the online legal information source maintained by Northwest Justice Project, Washington’s legal aid program for low income persons.
TeamChild in partnership with several other community organizations, produced “Make a Difference in a Child’s Life,” a self-help advocacy manual about education. The manual can be downloaded and printed in whole, or chapter by chapter.
Staff and volunteers at Washington PAVE (Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment) work with people one-to-one or provide workshops about obtaining appropriate services in the public school system.
Washington State Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO) provides a publication titled: “What Every Parent Needs to Know: Protecting the Educational Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Schools [PDF].”
The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, OSPI, Special Education Parent Liaison is available as a resource to parents in non-legal special education matters and serves as a neutral and independent advocate for a fair process. The Special Education Parent Liaison does not advocate on behalf of any one party. Rather, the Special Education Parent Liaison exists to address individual concerns about bureaucratic systems and act as a guide for citizens attempting to understand and navigate various government processes and procedures.
OEO, part of the Governor’s Office, functions independently from the public school system. OEO’s intake and services are primarily conducted by telephone and are free and confidential. Ombuds can answer questions and provide information about what a parent and student’s rights are, facilitate meetings to find resolution to problems and concerns, and assist parents with navigating the public school system.
TeamChild is a nonprofit civil legal aid organization. It provides free legal representation and advice to youth generally between ages 12-18 who come from low-income families and are involved in or at risk of being involved in the juvenile justice system. TeamChild has special education resources on their website and currently accepts referrals for youth living in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, and Yakima counties.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is the federal agency charged with ensuring equal access to education for all students. OCR enforces federal statutes that prohibit discrimination in public education. Anyone who believes that a public educational institution has discriminated against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age may file a complaint with OCR.
DOE Guidance on Schools’ Obligations to Meet the Communication Needs of Students with Disabilities [PDF]
The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice provides a two-page question and answer guide [PDF] about schools’ obligations to meet the communication needs of students with hearing, speech or vision disabilities. The guide includes links to further information, and steps parents can take to enforce a school’s obligations.