Social media platforms have evolved into information-sharing highways that can offer seemingly open access to free information. For many parents navigating difficult education rights situations, the information and empathy gained online can provide relief.

Social media provides a sense of community to parents, however, there are many precautions to take into consideration when joining online groups or making general posts online. It is always recommended to seek professional guidance from an experienced education rights attorney regarding the legal options available in any given situation.

Parent Support Groups

Parenting a child with special needs or a learning disability can feel overwhelming and isolating. Finding ways to connect with other families going through similar situations can help alleviate some of those emotions. The growth of digital communities through platforms such as Facebook has opened up the door to connect people from all over the world in affinity groups that provide a supportive environment for parents to share their challenges and success across a range of topics. Accessibility to these forums creates the opportunity for parents to gain understanding, clarity, and support from others with similar circumstances or experiences.

Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate beneficial information from misinformation in a public group. It is easy for opinions to be misinterpreted and tone to be misread. Factors such as location can impact the validity of legal information surrounding state laws, exceptions to the law, and rules that govern specific school districts. Online groups and forums are not typically facilitated by experts, so it is always in your best interest to conduct research and seek professional guidance.

Tips for Posting Online

No matter the content of your post, it is important to be careful about what you put on the internet. The tips below can help you and your family stay safe online while looking for support and information that may impact your child’s educational experience.

  • All content that is published online, including photos and private messages, is subject to public record and can be used against you in legal proceedings. It is important to be mindful of the content you include such as personal information.
  • Content provided to a social network is stored there and can be shared by default.
  • Know the rules of all online communities you are a part of and know how to contact the group administrators if you need assistance with a post.
  • If posting about a specific situation, person, or group of people such as a school district, be as general as possible. Do not include names, phone numbers, or locations.
  • Keep your accounts private. Limit who can access your profiles and see the content you post.
  • Be sensitive to others posting about their experiences. Disabilities present themselves differently in all individuals and many families seek community support and guidance because it is difficult to find elsewhere.

Informational Resources for Parents of Children with Special Needs

  • The Pacer Center provides resources, workshops, and general information to parents and professionals.
  • The Autism Society is a nationwide network of affiliates working to create public policy change to benefit individuals with autism and provide local resources and information to families.
  • Parent to Parent USA is a non-profit organization that empowers and supports families with children with disabilities through providing resources and emotional support.

When to Seek Legal Help

If you believe your child is not receiving appropriate educational services, it is always in your best interest to speak with an experienced education rights attorney rather than rely on internet sources. Hiring an attorney who works exclusively in special education is essential to the unique nature of advocating for children with diverse needs.

If your child’s needs are not being met by your school district, contact the offices of Jennifer Chang, an experienced Education Rights Attorney in California. She has successfully assisted many students with disabilities and their families to understand and implement their legal rights and help them receive the services they deserve. To schedule an appointment with Jennifer, contact her office today.