Local group hosting special education workshops
by Jennifer Cohron
Mar 01, 2012 | 860 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Community Options will host a series of workshops in March on individualized education programs (IEPs).

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 requires that every child who receives special education in a public school system have an IEP. Developing the document is supposed to be a collaborative effort of parents, teachers and school administrators.

However, Community Options executive director Jimmy Gunter said families of special needs children often feel confused and intimidated during IEP meetings.

“When you take that fear out as a factor, the parent becomes much more comfortable and can work better with the school system,” Gunter said.

The first workshop will be held on Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Options facility on Old Russellville Road. A representative from the Alabama Parent Education Center will be providing an introduction to IEPs.

On March 12, attorney James Gallini will be discussing legal issues associated with IEPs, including when to seek representation if a child’s educational needs are not being met.

The final seminar on March 19 will be a panel discussion between local school administrators and Lorraine Barnes, a child advocate from APEC.

There is no cost to attend the meetings, but RSVP’s are encouraged.

Events are held regularly at Community Options to benefit area residents with disabilities and their families.

“We try to provide educational resources for parents and opportunities that they wouldn’t ordinarily have locally,” Gunter said.

Gunter added that Community Options experienced a 9 percent loss in funding last October and, like other nonprofits in the state, may experience deeper cuts in the future.

The annual Autism Awareness Motorcycle Ride that raises money for Community Options’ services is scheduled for April 7.

For more information, call Community Options at 384-9353.