Special Education Services

Resources for Parents of Students with Disabilities

Information for parents on topics such as early childhood special education, conflict resolution, disabilities, and special education resources and supports including links to the document A Parent's Guide - The Educational Rights of Students with Disabilities in English and Spanish.

A good starting place for parents of students with disabilities is:

A Parent's Guide - Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois.
This document is available in English and Spanish. The appendices also include quick references, a glossary of terms, and sample letters.

Parents Guide
English Version
Parents Guide
Spanish Version

Another tool available to parents is:
The Illinois Student Records Keeper:
For Parents of Students Who Receive Special Education Services
PDF Format.
This booklet is for parents to use to keep important information about their child and his/her special education and related services. It is a companion to A Parent’s Guide - Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois.


 Local Contact

Often times, districts can assist parents with navigating the system and connect families to additional community supports.  Occasionally, parents may have issues or concerns regarding their child’s educational program and progress.  Parents are encouraged to try and resolve these issues at the local level first.  This may mean contacting the Special Education Administrator of your district or Special Education Cooperative.  

List of Directors of Special Education,  2013-14 PDF Format

 Free Services

  • The Illinois State Board of Education provides online resources.  You may also call ISBE Special Education Services at (866) 262-6663 for additional information. 
  • The Illinois Statewide Technical Assistance Collaborative (ISTAC) Parent Call Center (877-317-2733) provides assistance and connects parents to resources.
  • Parent Mentors provide regional or local trainings, mentoring, etc.  Parent mentors educate and do not advise. - New page coming soon!
  • Parent Training Information Centers (PTIs) provide trainings, parent mentoring, etc.
  • If you are unable to resolve a conflict at the local level, you may access one of ISBE’s dispute resolution options.
  • Mediation Services
  • Complaint Investigation 
  • Due Process


If you have a child with a disability, you may decide to hire a paraprofessional or a "lay advocate” to assist you in ensuring that your child's educational needs are met. These advocates, who are not attorneys, may be able to assist with consultation, letter writing, or meetings with schools.


For certain circumstances, a parent may prefer to hire an attorney for assistance.

Parents may also wish to browse other special education topics by using the A-Z index or special education What’s New/ Hot Topics.