Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)

info [at] dredf.org

DREDF (Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund) is an information center funded by the US Department of Education, serving children from birth to age 22 with all disabilities: physical, cognitive, emotional, and learning. DREDF provides parent training and Education Advocates to help with special education issues.

Community Parent Resource Centers: https://dredf.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/PTI_CA_090108.pdf

Parent Reviews

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RE: Preschool IEP advice ()

First that you have an IEP already at this age is wonderful and speaks to your ability to advocate for your child. An IEP can be changed so don’t panic. You can call DREDF and speak with a counselor. They can review the IEP and give you feedback and advice. They are amazing! if necessary you can request another meeting and they have 30 days to set it and then you can ask for changes. You can also bring an advocate of your choosing who can be a professional, a teacher, a medical provider, or even a friend.  

RE: Preschool IEP advice ()

Call DREDF, they will do free phone consultations and it is much easier than trying to sift through the information on the website. It was several years ago when I consulted them but they were incredibly helpful in cutting right through to the core issues and giving me very specific advice, down to the words to use when talking to the school district.

DREDF is great.  Talk to Cheryl/Sheryl if you can because she's familiar with Albany IEPs. 

You should attend DREDF's monthly orientation/overview to the special education process. www.dredf.org  Highly recommend it as a first step!

Hi There,

I don’t have any recs for an advocate, unfortunately, but I highly recommend attending a DREDF workshop to understand all your parental rights. https://dredf.org/special-education/trainings/You could also contact them to see if they have any advocate information.

Best of luck!

Free advice can be found through DREDF - you can leave a voicemail on their IEP help line and usually get a call back in 48 hours. I’m in a Facebook group that’s very helpful - look up TM Special Needs IEP Support and you’ll find it. Hang in there!

Try dredf.org for referrals.  They provide advocacy for kids with IEPs.

RE: Advocate for IEP meeting ()

Call the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) Education Advocates. They are the Parent Training & Information Center under IDEA for Alameda (and Contra Costa and Yolo) Counties and their services are free. 510.644.2555 

Yes, they are stalling and it's not necessary.  DREDF is a fantastic local resource to learn about the special education process and your rights.  DREDF has a sample letter on their website to send to the OUSD Director of Special Ed to get the process of testing moving forward more quickly.  DREDF also has free monthly workshops and counselors that you can call for help.  

Also, there is a really good book that has just been published by Kelli Sandman-Hurley, called Dyslexia Advocate, that is a very good book that outlines how to advocate for a child with dyslexia within the public education system.  Good luck!

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) is an excellent resource for information about special education. If you live in Alameda, Contra Costa or San Joaquin Counties, a DREDF Education Advocate can talk to you about special education and give you resources so you can make informed decisions about your child’s education and other individual needs. Call 800-348-4232 or email iephelp [at] dredf.org to request a conversation with a DREDF education advocate. My understanding is that you need to make a specific written request to the school for an IEP assessment to begin the IEP process, and the school district must then follow the legal guidelines for responding to your request, including applicable deadlines. The links below provide more details on the IEP process.

The DREDF website also has a lot of information about special education, including:

Home page for special education: https://dredf.org/special-education/
A Guide for California Parents - Special Education Due Process and the Resolution meeting: https://dredf.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/dueprocess.pdf

RE: Dyslexia, Help!!! ()

Ask your school district for an evaluation.(See link at end of paragraph.) They have a certain timeline in which to get this done. Your daughter could qualify for special education-this is a good thing-and get the support she needs to learn and be the smart person she is but that her current learning methods don't show. For some very good and clear guidelines, contact DREDF, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund at http://dredf.org/special-education/trainings/. They have free parent trainings the first part of every month, so this is perfect timing. They will help you immensely. Also, you can go to the IEP Assessment Letter here to use so you can get started with your request for evaluation right away. http://dredf.org/special-education/sample-letters/ Good luck from a mom and advocate.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sept 2010

RE: Special Education Advocate needed to help with son's IEP

Along the way, I have consulted with www.dredf.org Disability Rights Education... at 510-644-2555. Ask about your local SELPA parent meeting. They're great!! Several times I've called in upset needing a quick consult on an up-coming IEP. Take Care. Monica 

March 2010

RE: Attorney for IEP disagreement with school

DREDF will be able to provide some legal advice. They may also be able to refer you to an attorney. http://www.dredf.org/ Good Luck

Dec 2009

RE: Wrongful expulsion lawyers?

Try calling DREDF, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. Located in Berkeley, it is charged with protecting the civil rights of the disabled. Even though your daughter does not have a disability, they may be able to put you in touch with a civil rights lawyer who can help you. I worked with Ann McDonald-Cacho but I imagine any of the counselors would be able to help identify resources. Nancy

April 2008

RE: School wants to move 7th grade son from IEP to 504

For information and to discuss options, call the Parent Training & Informatin Center at Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) in Berkeley (510-644-2555 / www.dredf.org). Ask to speak with an Education Advocate. You will be put on a first-come/first-served list for a call back. -- The DREDF PTI serves Alameda, Contra Costa and Yolo counties, part of a network funded in part by a grant from the US Department of Education (DOE) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to assist families of school-age children with disabilities, and professionals who work with students with disabilities, to answer these kinds of questions and offer training. DREDF also provides educational advocacy to foster families and foster youth with disabilities under their Foster Youth Resources for Education (FYRE) program. DREDF holds 30-minute IEP Clinics the 1st Tuesday of every month between 10-2. You must call to schedule an appointment. -- If you disagree with the school district evaluation(s), you do have the right to ask for ''an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense.'' Your request must be in writing. The school district must respond in writing to either grant you the independent evaluation(s), or file for a Due Process Hearing to prove to a state administrative law judge that the district's evaluation was appropriate. Understand also that any independent evaluations/reports you have paid for on your own must be considered by your child's IEP team if you bring them into the discussion. Bring with you anyone you need to assist you in your advocacy efforts (tutors, etc.) to speak to your son's needs so the IEP team has all the information you feel they need to consider. Request that the district's ''504 Coordinator'' attend your IEP meeting so you can understand the ramifications and the type of support and accommodations your son will need formalized in a ''504 Plan'' if you agree with an ''exit'' from special education. IDEA law is more protective than Section 504, but having a disability alone does not qualify a child for specialized instruction under an IEP - eligibility is based upon an evaluation process. Do not consent to an IEP you are not in agreement with. It is a legally-binding document. The current IEP in force allows your child to ''stay put'' until you and the district can resolve differences. Alternatively, you can sign to parts of the IEP you agree with and write a note on the IEP stating what parts you object to and your expectation the discussion will continue over those matters with which you do not agree. All IEP decisions are made by team consensus and you are a full member of the IEP team. Ann

Jan 2004

RE: Need help getting school to comply with 504 plan

Have you checked out DREDF, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund? They have a website that has a lot of information about what they do and they are located in Berkeley: http://www.dredf.org/ I had a training recently from a parent advocate and was very impressed by her knowledge and advocacy. sherri