Navigating the education system as the parent of a special-needs student can be daunting. Luckily, there are resources available for families in search of answers and accountability. Below are just a few institutions, collected in consultation with Ward 8 resident and special-needs parent LaJoy Johnson-Law, that have been proven to help special-needs students of all ages.

Advocates for Justice and Education (AJE)

Since 1996, this institution has helped address the denial of basic special-education services by educating parents about special education laws and consequences that arise from an educational institution鈥檚 failure to properly classify and accommodate special-needs students. Resources include a parent support network, free legal representation, and youth transition plans.

For more information, visit

The Children鈥檚 Law Center

This institution has helped tens of thousands of children solve pressing special-education-related problems while advocating for citywide solutions. The tenets of the program are based on the belief in stable families, solving health problems, ensuring quality education, and system reform. Attorneys affiliated with the Children鈥檚 Law Center have even been appointed by District court judges to represent children in foster care.

For more information, visit

DC Special Education Co-op

This entity works with teachers and school leaders across the charter school system to improve educational services for special-needs students. It does so by designing programs based on student need, preparing students for life beyond high school graduation, and pushing schools to expand their capacity to increase the quality of special education in D.C. schools. The co-op, as it鈥檚 often called, also shapes education legislation to improve how special-needs students are taught.

For more information, visit

DC Special Education Hub

Families can better understand special education in the District when visiting this D.C. government resource that connects them with the tools, education and support needed to make informed decisions about their child鈥檚 learning. This one-stop shop for information focuses on early childhood, special education eligibility and implementation, academics and emotional, and social and behavioral support.

For more information, visit

Office of the Student Advocate

This D.C. government entity aspires to help families better understand the public education system so they can advocate for their child and forge bonds with their child鈥檚 school. Resources include a Parent & Daily Go-To Guide that鈥檚 chock full of information about the D.C. education system. Other online resources focus on advocacy and lobbying, attendance and truancy, and bullying.

For more information, visit

Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities

This entity has a legal department that services people with developmental disabilities and their families in the realms of capacity, consent, community integration, and freedom from abuse and neglect. Attorneys work to ensure that services for people with developmental disabilities are provided in the least restrictive setting possible. The trust also advocates for legislative reform and weighs in on policies affecting people with disabilities.

For more information, call 202-448-1450.

Sam P.K. Collins has nearly 20 years of journalism experience, a significant portion of which he gained at The 老澳门开奖网 Informer. On any given day, he can be found piecing together a story, conducting...

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