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Description: This webinar will address the  parents and caregiver role in the special education process.  We’ll cover the information and skills caregivers need to advocate effectively for their children before, during, and after IEP meetings.  We’ll also talk about  how concerned professionals can support the families they’re working with.

Learning Objectives:

By end of the program, participants will be able to

1.  Identify at least two principles for special education law and Section 504 that matter most to family participation.

2.  List the steps caregivers can take to prepare for IEP meetings

3.  Apply at least one communication skill for productive IEP meetings

Trainer: Karen Laughlin joined ECAC in 2012 as the Southeastern Regional Parent Educator, after her daughter Carly qualified for special education with a learning disability. Karen loves to help the special education process make more sense to families, whether it’s in a phone call, email exchange, or a webinar.



  • Akçin, F.N. (2022). Identification of the processes of preparing individualized education programs (IEP) by special education teachers, and of problems encountered therein. Educational Research and Reviews, 17(1), 31-45.
  • Burke, M., Rossetti, Z., & Li, C. (2022). The efficacy and impact of a special education legislative advocacy program among parents of children with disabilities. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 52(7), 3271-3279.
  • Rossetti, Z., Burke, M. M., Hughes, O., Schraml-Block, K., Rivera, J. I., Rios, K., Aleman Tovar, J., & Lee, J. D. (2021). Parent perceptions of the advocacy expectation in special education. Exceptional Children, 87(4), 438-457.
  • Sanderson, K. A., & Rojas, A. J. (2023). Parent perspectives on student IEP involvement. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 23(2), 90-99.
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