Tips for Special and Gifted Education

By: Marissa Post and Sabra Townsend


  1. Develop a rapport with Teachers, Principal, Special Education Liaison (SEL), Aides, Therapists & school RN.
  2.  Ask for your student’s daily schedule.
  3.  Get names and contact information for all staff that interact with your student.
  4.  Ask to observe your child in different classrooms, lunch and recess.  Take observation notes to use at your meetings.
  5.  Keep correspondence with the school in writing via email.  If you have a conversation about your child’s education, document the conversation in a follow-up email.
  6.  Ask for Invitations and process documents electronically and photograph/scan documents if you sign and return them.  Send photo/scanned documents to school via email
  7.  Meet other parents and aides.  Build allies with people in the school.
  8.  Remember, inclusion is the first option, not something that is ‘earned’
  9.  Keep a binder, folder or file drawer for your student’s records
  10.  Review  Education Law Center publication: Right to Special Education
  11.  Play an active role in the creation and implementation of your Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Know the forms and parts of the process. Evaluations and Re-Evaluations (PTE-Permission to Evaluate/PTRE-Permission to Re-evaluate, Invitations to Participate, IEP (Individualized Education Plan), NOREP (Notice of Recommended Educational Placement)
  1.  Know the deadlines for documents and processes  PDE/Pattan Timelines (PA Department of Education) Keep track of all Invitations and Meetings.  You have rights to meet at a mutually agreeable time
  2.  Get comfortable asking questions such as “What strategy is used for ….”   What does that look like for my student?
  3.  Meet your bus driver and bus aide, find out the garage.  SEL should file a Transportation Action Request (TAR) for any changes. Get the TAR #.
  4.  Encourage your student and his teaching team to help find and develop new friendships at school.  Ask about after school activities and social skills opportunities for your child.

Special education

Additional Tools for Gifted Programs:

Gifted Education Guidelines:

Gifted Frequently Asked Questions

PA Code for Gifted Education

Sources for Special Education

PA Code for Special Education


Wright’s Law

PEAL Center