Education Self-Advocacy Resources

Parents Together (Revised 2014) is a manual developed for parents who have children who currently receive or need to request special education services. This 224 page manual covers topics such as early intervention, the evaluation process, IEPs, placement, transition, discipline, behavior intervention plans, seclusion and restraint, and conflict resolution procedures.

The IEP Process: Referral is the First Step is a fact sheet that guides parents and other interested parties through the process of evaluating a child's eligibility for an IEP or Individualized Education Program.

Physical Injuries and Student Safety helps parents understand their options when a child comes home with unexplained bumps, bruises or cuts.

Bullying in School is intended to help parents understand some of the laws and policies that may help them address bullying issues for a child who receives special education services. (en Español)

Seclusion and Restraint outlines the basics of seclusion and restraint in schools, what constitutes seclusion and restraint, what types of restraints are allowed, what are the limitations, and some options for a parent to advocate regarding seclusion and restraint and their child. (en Español)

Request for Internal School Investigation is a sample letter parents can use as a starting point to write their own letter to request a school investigation after an incident of restraint and seclusion or a generally inappropriate response to behavior. (Click here for the non-restraint version of the letter).


NC Department of Public Instruction Resources

The Exceptional Children Division of the NC Public Instruction has resources that parents of children who receive special education services may find helpful in advocating for their child. Disability Rights NC’s Parents Together is intended to be used in conjunction with the information found in the following two documents:

  • Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities sets out the policies a school system is supposed to follow in providing special education services, including information about the procedures, timelines, and enforcement mechanisms.
  • Procedural Safeguards: Handbook on Parent’s Rights is the full explanation of legal rights (procedural safeguards) that is required to be available to parents under the IDEA and accompanying federal regulations.  This document explains consent, notice, evaluations, access to records, state complaint procedures, due process, etc.
  • Feeding Therapy Policy Clarification is a memo correcting a misunderstanding surrounding feeding therapy for students with special needs. An IEP Team may consider feedig therapy for a student based on their unique needs.

Information can also be found on the NC DPI webpage regarding:

  • Mediation
  • Facilitated IEP Team Meetings; and
  • Written Complaints

The EC Directory provides phone numbers for the Parent Training specialists who can help a parent with information about their rights and the DPI complaint process.

Other Programs in NC

Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center (ECAC)

( (1-800-962-6817)

ECAC is the Parent Training and Information Center for North Carolina, which is funded by the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.  ECAC’s role is to help parents navigate the special education system, provide training and information, and give parents the tools to help them advocate for their child.  The Center has a toll free parent information line answered by other parents, may provide individual assistance with educational issues, parent-to-parent support, and information packets and other materials.  If you have a question about a special education issue, ECAC’s parent info line is there to try to answer it.

Legal Aid of North Carolina-Advocates for Children’s Services


Advocates for Children’s Services (ACS) is a statewide Legal Aid of North Carolina project.

Children’s Law Clinic-Duke School of Law


The Children’s Law Clinic at Duke University School of Law is one of the few law school clinic programs with expertise in special education and school discipline law.  The Clinic provides services to low-income clients who live in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham, Granville, Franklin, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake and Warren counties.

Council for Children’s Rights


The Council for Children’s Rights provides attorneys, advocates and staff to protect the rights and interests of children, particularly those who have complex and overlapping issues, in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.  Such issues could include health/mental health needs, special education assistance, involvement with juvenile court, etc.

Autism Society of North Carolina


Self-advocacy toolkits on IEPs, bullying, accessing services, and behavior issues in school.

Helpful Special Education Websites is dedicated to providing accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities. The information is intended for parents, educators, advocates and attorneys. provides resources for parents of children with learning and attention issues. In addition to fact sheets and toolkits on a range of issues, the site offers regular webinars or live chats with experts.

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