Special Education Basics

Virginia Special Education Regulations

From the Virginia Department of Education, this launch page offers a copy of state regulations for implementation of IDEA, and other state and federal special education policies.

  • Website, Virginia Special Education Regulations


Critical Decision Points for Families of Children with Disabilities online modules

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), through grant funding provided by the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities (VBPD) and assistance provided by the Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) at James Madison University has developed five web-based training modules for parents, school professionals, and other community stakeholders that work with families whom have a child with a disability.   Parents and caregivers have certain goals in mind when their children go to school. Regardless of whether or not their children have disabilities, all parents want their children to learn, explore, and experience as much as they possibly can.  Parents strive for their children to complete their public education, obtain a diploma, and be fully prepared to move on toward their chosen path, whether that is immediate employment, higher education, or something else.  In order for children to achieve these goals, there are certain decisions that will have to be made along the way.  The modules created relate to the Critical Decision Points for Families of Children with Disabilities curriculum and are designed to assist participants in understanding four things as they prepare to make these decisions:

  • What are some of the keys to a child’s academic success?
  • What decisions will need to be made regarding a child’s educational path?
  • At what point should we be making these decisions?
  • What information is needed so that we can make the most well informed decisions possible for a child?

There are a total of five modules that range in length from three to five minutes, which can be completed in a single viewing or broken up over time to meet individual time constraints.

The curriculum for these modules is also available in print and online.  A fully accessible online version is located at the following web link: Virginia Department of Education’s Special Education – Parents Section.  To obtain a printed copy of the curriculum or to ask questions about the module training opportunities, please contact Tracy Lee, Family Engagement Specialist, via email, at Tracy.Lee@doe.virginia.gov, or by phone, at (804) 225-3492.

  • Website, Critical Decision Points for Families of Children with Disabilities online modules


Virginia Family Special Education Connection

This website provides a one-stop-shop for parents, families and caregivers of children with special needs to:

  • Access local school system contacts and disability services in your community
  • Explore an abundance of resources, including assistive technology and behavioral supports to help your child succeed.
  • Learn about and plan your child’s educational program
  • Understand your legal rights and responsibilities

Parents and families can and do make a difference in their child’s education.

  • Website, Virginia Family Special Education Connection


Learn more about FFF- 2019 ‘Your Need to Know’ TV program

Formed Families Forward was pleased to be featured on the Fairfax Public Access television show “Your Need to Know”. Learn more about how FFF started and the wealth of services and programs we offer to foster, adoptive and kinship families!

  • Website, Learn more about FFF- 2019 ‘Your Need to Know’ TV program


Pathways to Success modules for families

From the Virginia I’m Determined project, the Pathways to Success is a series of online learning modules for parents and caregivers.

The Pathways to Success are set up for you, at your own pace, to learn about how to support your child in becoming more self-determined. If you are just beginning, you can follow the Parent Path in the order it has been created, and if you just want to learn more about a certain aspect, you can simply skip to that part and grab the information you need

  • Website, Pathways to Success modules for families


Engaging Families in Mental Health and Disability Services tip sheet

This one pager from the new Northern Virginia Family Network (NVFN) designed for professional staff who work with families and youth. It offers some brief, straightforward suggestions and reminders about effectively communicating and building partnerships with families who are in need of education, mental health, disability and other services and supports.

Members of the NVFN are found on the back of the flyer.

  • Factsheet, Engaging Families in Mental Health and Disability Services tip sheet


Definition of Parent- VDOE Guidance Document

This Va Department of Education Guidance Document for Implementing New Special Education Requirements for the Definition of Parent, is dated May 2009, continues to be in effect. See final page for the Code definition of Parent for purposes of special education.

  • Website, Definition of Parent- VDOE Guidance Document


US Department of Education IDEA website

The U.S. Department of Education’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) website brings together IDEA information and resources from the Department and our grantees.

  • Website, US Department of Education IDEA website


Accommodations Menu list

A 16 page list of possible accommodations for children and youth with disabilities, that might be appropriate for 504 plans and individualized education programs (IEPs).

  • Document, Accommodations Menu list