​Special Education Dragon Slayer

 "I appreciate that JoAnn puts her heart  and soul into everything she writes!"


My oldest child with a disability is soon to turn 35 years old. It makes me realize how long I have been involved in special education---for my two children and for other children that I have adv ocated for over these many years.

I recently ran into one of Angelina's teachers from when she was in grade school. I loved catching up with her, and she loved seeing Angelina after all these years.

As her and I were discussing special education she stated to me that she is often frustrated with parents because  some of them do not advocate for their child and/or do not ev en show up for IEP meetings. Of course I was outraged because children depend on their parents to ensure that they receive an appropriate education. She then went on to say that she tries to advocate for the student (which is great but I rarely see that).

As a parent myself with three children and two with disabilities I understand how overwheling having a child with a disability is. If the child happens to have autism  the difficulties are multiplied.

But I have also been experiencing something similar where parents will contact me but then are unwilling to follow the steps that I recommend or pay for me to go to an IEP meeting. .Since I charge very little I do not think that the cost is an issue.

Would love to hear parents comments on this subject and how all of us can encourage other parents to advocate for their child.

Parent Question

  My Answer

Be sure you check out my blog post!!

Parents are not legally obligated to answer the school district every time they call or email. Many years ago, a good friend of mine told me the best tip I ever gave her was that she did not have to answer the phone when the school district called. My friend was a great advocate but the school district called her to try and trick her. Once she took my advice and stopped answering the phone and made clear to them that they needed to send a letter for any communication, she felt much more in control. 

Also, constant harassment could fall under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for retaliation. Section 504 states that it "prohibits recipients or other persons from intimidating, threatening, coercing or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Section 504..."

You also may consider filing an OCR complaint for retaliation.

The information on Section 504 is included in my 2nd book Slaying Special Education Dragons.

Special Education Parent Book Gives Roadmap to Empower Parents in Their Uphill Battle for Special Education Services

JoAnn Collins is the author and publisher of the recently released book: Slaying  Special Education Dragons; Ten Step Roadmap to Navigate the 
Maze, Overcome Roadblocks, and Slay Dragons to Ensure Your Child's Appropriate Education.  This book is providing critical advocacy information to empower parents as they embark on the  uphill battle for needed appropriate special education services for their child.

According to federal special education law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004---IDEA 2004), children have the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE), which is considered an "entitlement," to which few children actually receive. 

As an advocate for over 25 years, I have seen school districts bring attorneys to IEP meetings, file for due process hearings to stop 
independent educational  evaluations at public expense (which are guaranteed under IDEA 2004 if parents disagree with the school's evaluation), and refuse to provide needed special education services. Some schools even spend thousands of dollars to fight parents for a small amount of services. 

These actions by schools require parents to hire advocates or attorneys, pay for independent evaluations and also pay for private services that their child  needs due to the school's denial. If parents have to spend money, then their child's special education is not free as required by IDEA 2004.

The roadmap in Slaying Special  Education Dragons, which has been developed over 25 years of my advocacy includes: common special education roadblocks, federal special education law, disability law, information on navigating the IEP maze, two chapters on IEEs, school options, private school at public expense as well as truthful information about dispute resolution processes.

A testimonial by a parent: "Slaying Special Education Dragons provides families with much-needed practical advice and real-life strategies so that 
they too can win the battle for their special needs child's education!"

Parents can win the uphill battle of FAPE for their child---with Slaying Special Education Dragons. It's like having an advocate at their fingertips!

 I assertively and persistently advocate for my  child with autism, but I have a problem. My  school district is constantly harassing me with  questions, changes, etc. How do I stop this  harassment?

 "Don’t trust the stairs leading to special  education. They’re always up to  something and down to nothing. JoAnn  Collins’ new book won’t let you fall down  because she knows the steps."

 -Grandparent of Child with Autism

JoAnn Collins is the mother of two with developmental disabilities and has been a successful educational advocate for over 25 years. She is passionate about helping families advocate for appropriate special education services. She is the author of the books Disability Deception and Slaying Special Education Dragons: Ten Step Road map to Navigate the Maze, Overcome Roadblocks and Slay Dragons; to Ensure an Appropriate Education for Your Child.

Welcome to the website of JoAnn Collins

The new blog post is about four of the nine reasons that some special educators lie to parents. Definetely worth your time to read!

Press Release on ReleaseWire

JoAnn Collins Testimonials

New Testimonial on Slaying Special Education Dragons:

5.0 out of 5 starsI would recommend this book to any parent who is dealing with ...
ByRobert Bevillon June 4, 2016
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would recommend this book to any parent who is dealing with a deceitful and dishonest school district. Let's face it, there are no penalties for the people who work for the school district. No one ever gets fired or reprimanded. I wonder how they sleep at night. It is amazing that they can live with themselves, harming the most innocent and defenseless of our children. JoAnn Collins covers all of the angles you need to defend your child against the Special Education Dragons.