The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) recognizes the critical need of supporting and honoring families as the primary caregivers and educators of children. This critical role from birth into adulthood is challenging for families, and the challenges are often compounded for families of children with disabilities.
The state of Ohio developed a multi-tiered system of support, the Parent Mentors Project, nearly 30 years ago to offer a supportive peer relationship, an understanding of local school districts and organizational resources for families of students with disabilities, understanding of special education legislation, awareness of state resources and learning opportunities, and time for individualized interactions such as phone calls, and attending Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings.
A Parent Mentor guides families through the Special Education process by:
- Helping families understand their rights and responsibilities,
- Attending the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) Meetings and other meetings at the request of families or staff.
- Listening to and supporting both family and educators on an individual basis,
- Providing information and resources to families and schools,
- Hosting information sessions, support/networking groups or training programs for families and educators,
- Engaging community service agencies and other resources to support families and schools,
- Connecting families, schools and community partners to benefit students with special needs.
- and so much more!