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Webinar alert! Strategies for Communicating with Special Education Families

Texas, On-DemandCalifornia, 2/29

Communication Check-up

Your schools and districts offer so much information to families. But does it land? Do families respond? Are you taking every chance to build families’ trust and their capacity to collaborate with your team?

Families are busy, and so are you. No matter how much content you offer or how good it is, it can’t help unless families can find, access, and understand it.

Special Education families need high-quality, supportive information. Your staff deserves productive partnerships with well-informed families.

Exceptional Lives’ Family Friendly Communication Check-Up can help improve your content and build your skills sharing information more people actually use.

We can even take pressure off your staff by providing chat support for them and for families while we work on improving the materials you already offer. 

Contact UsSee an example of improved communication

We Help You

  • 1. Prioritize what matters most

    Does your website highlight the information families need most?

    We look at how your communication addresses areas where families struggle. We provide meaningful, concrete suggestions for clearer pathways to the resources that will have the biggest impact. This helps set families up to be informed, collaborative partners for your staff.

    We'll also provide user-friendly templates and tools you can use to communicate more clearly with families, so that they hear the same message you're trying to send. 

  • 2. Focus on accessibility

    Special Education Families and those whose kids are struggling have a lot on their plates, and a lot of questions. Do they know how to find your answers? 


    Our team of user experience experts will review your site and offer practical, easy suggestions that reduce confusion and frustration. Our approach helps you create a more intuitive and inclusive journey, no matter what technology your district uses. 

    We offer analytics to help you understand where families are struggling and make more strategic decisions about how to help.

  • 3. Simplify to amplify communication 

    Are you writing in a way busy families understand?

    We’ll show you how to make your current content more effective by saying it more simply. Our plain language experts help transform complex jargon into clear, concise, family-friendly language so your message shines through.

  • 4. Refer to reliable resources

    Are you efficiently connecting SPED families to community resources?

    Families need many services outside of school, and districts scramble to provide trustworthy listings. We evaluate your resource lists to make sure they are comprehensive, up-to-date, and meet families’ needs.

Contact us today.

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How Plain Language Helps

  1. Before:

    Dear parents and guardians:


    You have an upcoming IEP eligibility determination meeting for your child. During the eligibility meeting, the team discusses the results of the evaluation. Then the team will determine the eligibility of your child for special education services.


    To be found eligible, the child must be found to have a disability as recognized by the IDEA, the disability must have an adverse effect on your child's educational performance, and the child requires either specially designed instruction or a related service necessary to allow the child to access the general education curriculum.


    If the student is found to be eligible for special education, the next step is to create an effective IEP. If the student is not eligible for special education, he or she might still be eligible for other accommodations, services or programs.


    Sometimes the evaluation results are not clear, in which case an extended evaluation may occur. If that is the case, we will discuss next steps during the meeting.


    We look forward to seeing you at the meeting.


    Sincerely,


    The Special Education Team

  2. After:

    Dear parents and guardians:

    This letter tells you what you can expect at your upcoming meeting about your child’s recent evaluation. 

    At this meeting, the team will discuss the results of the evaluation. Then they’ll decide if your child qualifies for special education services. 

    Your child will qualify for extra support in school if the evaluation finds: 

    • They have a disability, as defined by IDEA, the disability education law
    • The disability is getting in the way of their learning
    • Specialized teaching can help them learn

    If your child qualifies, the next step is to create an effective IEP (Individualized Education Program). (4)

    If not, they may qualify for other services or programs.

    Sometimes evaluation results are not clear. If this happens, we may do some more testing.

    You are an important member of your child’s team. We welcome your questions. 

    Sincerely,

    The Special Education Team

Five steps towards Family-Friendly Writing

  • State the Goal at the Beginning

    Before: 

    Dear parents and guardians:

    You have an upcoming IEP eligibility determination meeting for your child. During the eligibility meeting, the team discusses the results of the evaluation. Then the team will determine the eligibility of your child for special education services.

    After:

    Dear parents and guardians:

    This letter tells you what you can expect at your upcoming meeting about your child’s recent evaluation.

    Contact Us Today
  • Use spacing, short sentences, and simple words. 

    Before: 

    During the eligibility meeting, the team discusses the results of the evaluation. Then the team will determine the eligibility of your child for special education services.

    After:

    At this meeting, the team will discuss the results of the evaluation. Then they’ll decide if your child qualifies for special education services.

    Contact Us Today
  • Use formatting to chunk information into smaller pieces and highlight the most important points.

    Before:

    To be found eligible, the child must be found to have a disability as recognized by the IDEA, the disability must have an adverse effect on your child’s educational performance, and the child requires either specially designed instruction or a related service necessary to allow the child to access the general education curriculum. 

    If the student is found to be eligible for special education, the next step is to create an effective IEP. If the student is not eligible for special education, he or she might still be eligible for other accommodations, services or programs.

    After:

    Your child will qualify for extra support in school if the evaluation finds: 

      • They have a disability, as defined by IDEA, the disability education law

      • The disability is getting in the way of their learning

      • Specialized teaching can help them learn

    If your child qualifies, the next step is to create an effective IEP. 

    Contact Us Today
  • Define jargon and acronyms if you have to include them.

    Before: 

    If the student is found to be eligible for special education, the next step is to create an effective IEP. If the student is not eligible for special education, he or she might still be eligible for other accommodations, services or programs.

    After

    If your child qualifies, the next step is to create an effective IEP (Individualized Education Program).

    If not, they may qualify for other services or programs.

    Contact Us Today
  • Use a conversational style and try to show the reader you care about them as a person.

    Before: 

    Sometimes the evaluation results are not clear, in which case an extended evaluation may occur. If that is the case, we will discuss next steps during the meeting.

    We look forward to seeing you at the meeting.

    Sincerely,

    The Special Education Team

    After

    Sometimes evaluation results are not clear. If this happens, we may do some more testing.

    You are an important member of your child’s team. We welcome your questions. 

    Contact Us Today