Providing Support
Promoting Awareness
Advocating for Change

Family Advocacy & Parent Education Program

FAPE – Family Advocacy & Parent Education Program

The Howard County Autism Society (HCAS) has been awarded a Community Service Partnership (CSP) grant by the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services to provide special education advocacy and familial support for students with special education needs. Services include one-to-one assistance and information on special education issues; one-to-one assistance on special education law and how it applies to personal circumstances; workshops and seminars on special education topics of interest; and a web-based special education news center. In addition, the multi-faceted delivery of services and specialized support will assist speakers of limited English, specifically the Spanish and Korean populations.

Special Education Advocacy

HCAS is available to answer questions, offer support, and provide information and guidance related to special education and school system resources. Families can email or call 410-290-3466. Appointments can be made by request. After initial phone in-take through HCAS, if deemed appropriate and necessary, HCAS may direct families to a special education attorney or advocate; HCAS will subsidize 45 minutes of consultative services. HCAS has contracted with Disability Rights Maryland (DRM) (formerly the Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC)) to provide families with specialized guidance pertaining to special education law. The goal is to educate families on how special education and disability law may apply to their unique situation.

Special Education Workshops and Seminars

HCAS offers a series of workshops and seminars to enhance parent education of special education issues.  See the HCAS calendar for upcoming workshops and seminars. Past workshop topics include:

  • Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC) Introduction to Services by Leslie Margolis
  • Special Education Law I—Student Discipline, Restraint, and Seclusion: What’s Legal, What’s Not, and
  • What’s a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) Got to Do with It? Presented by MDLC
  • Vocational Planning by Susan Howarth: Identify individual strengths and challenges to use as a foundation for vocational planning.
  • Special Education Support for Spanish Speaking Families
  • Parent Burn Out—David Gold, psychologist
  • ASD and Managing Aggression by Steven E. Lindauer, Ph.D., Director, Pediatric Developmental Disabilities Clinic, Kennedy Krieger Institute
  • IEP Preparation—Special Education Advocates on How to Prepare in Advance for an Annual IEP Meeting
  • Special Education Law II–Assessments Workshop: Access to Curriculum, IEP Content, MSAs/HSAs, and Placements Presented by MDLC
  • Understanding DSM-V, ASD, ADHD, and Language Challenges by Linda E. Spencer, Ph.D., and Vince Cullota, Ph.D., ABN. A review of the intermingling of ASD, ADHD, and language challenges, and how the DSM-V addresses these overlapping issues.
  • Special Education Annual Update from Patty Daley, HCPSS Director of Special Education, and Judy Pattik, HCPSS Coordinator of Special Education
  • Transition—Benefits Discussion (SSI, SSDI)

 Special Education Online News Center

The Special Education News Center provides parents, educators, therapists, and others with essential resources for understanding, accessing, and succeeding in the world of special education. The information provided on the website is meant to encourage parent advocacy and promote collaboration between home and school. It is intended to educate parents on the rights guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004). And, most importantly, it is available to assist parents in finding key special education staff at the county and state levels. Sections include:

  • Accommodations & Modifications
  • ADD / ADHD / Learning Disabilities
  • Autism Resources
  • Behavior & Discipline Issues
  • Common Core Standards
  • HCPSS Dept. of Special Education & Student Services
  • High Stakes Testing
  • IEP / IFSP / 504 Basics
  • Local Support & Advocacy Group Events & Workshop Videos
  • Mediation & Due Process
  • Parent to Parent Tips
  • Procedural Safeguards
  • School 411
  • Spanish & Korean Language Resources
  • Special Education Services
  • Transitions

Contact information for the Family Advocacy and Parent Education Program

Phone: 410-290-3466

Howard County Autism Society
Attn: FAPE Program
9770 Patuxent Woods Drive, Suite 308
Columbia, MD 21046
Contact: Roger Thibaudeau