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August 12, 2022

The Ally: Disability Updates for Back-to-School


Back-to-school time brings up many feelings in a parent's heart (sometimes in their throat and stomach, too!): excitement for the new year, worry about children's adjustment, and confusion over schedules. It can also bring up dread when your child has a disability, wondering if the school will meet their needs and respond to them with the same care you would and if all the ins and outs of their 504 Plan or IEP will work.

It can be so scary and hard, walking from the car to the school door for the first meeting of the year—or seeing the school's number pop up on your caller ID. We know. We know because we are parents who face those same things. We don't want anyone to feel alone. This week's edition of The Ally is dedicated to helpful information and resources to support families of children with disabilities in school return.

The United States Department of Education recently released helpful guidance about schools and students with disabilities. We are making our way through it and will share beneficial highlights in upcoming weeks - things such as what to do if the school keeps calling you to come to pick up your child or if the school tells you your child will have a shorter school day than other children. There is also helpful information about ensuring the safety of all children while meeting the needs of children with behavior challenges and ensuring risk assessments are done carefully and coordinate with their IEPs.

We want to support you as your child returns to school. Feel free to reach out to us. Please also check out the resources and support available through the Mississippi Parent Training and Information Center.

[Top Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash]

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The Department of Education released new guidance that aims to help public schools meet the needs of students with disabilities.
Sometimes families wonder what steps to take if they believe their child’s school should evaluate their child for special education services. One of the most important things to remember is to put your request in writing.
If a child’s special education rights have been violated, one can can file a Formal State Complaint with the Mississippi State Department of Education.


The Mississippi Developmental Disabilities Network is hosting community forums in the Jackson, Gulf Coast, and Southaven areas in August.
The Mississippi Board of Mental Health Meeting will be held on Aug. 18 at the Robert E. Lee Building in Jackson.
This hour is open for any family member to drop in for all or some of the time to ask questions or get feedback about IEP issues.
Families and professionals are encouraged to attend the EHDI AC quarterly meeting. Public comments may be shared during the meeting.
This group will focus on opportunities for leadership training graduates to serve on decision-making groups, provide coaching guidance.
The Mississippi Developmental Disabilities Network is hosting community forums in the Jackson, Gulf Coast, and Southaven areas in August.
Family members may drop in to share any concerns or get feedback from others about handling different situations.
This conference will provide parents, advocates, and professionals the opportunity to learn resources and evidence-based best practices.
The Peer Support Specialist Professional Supervisor Training is designed for agency administration/management and CPSSP Supervisors.


Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans are similar but different. See how they compare in what they provide and the processes and laws involved.
This year’s KIDS COUNT Data Book shows Mississippi is improving in most of the areas that are measured for children’s well-being. But the state still ranks 48th in the country. A focus of the report is on how the various factors are impacting children’s mental health.
The Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) in collaboration with LIFE and MDRS is charged with developing and maintaining the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL).  The SPIL outlines their plans for the provision of independent living services to individuals with disabilities in Mississippi. We are seeking public comments from you! Attached is the current SPIL for FY20 -23.  Please review and submit your comments in writing regarding proposed changes to the SPIL to Anita Naik at the MS Department of Rehabilitation Services, P.O. Box 1698, Jackson, MS 39215 or email them to no later than September 5, 2022.