We understand the complexity and loneliness of navigating special education. Our new Special Education Military Family Parent Mentorship Program brings guidance, support, and a sense of belonging. It is designed to assist military families with children in special education.
Breaking the Loneliness & Finding Support in the Military Community
The moments right before an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting are terrifyingly lonely. Even if I knew nothing contentious was happening, I was alone…and FELT alone. Once, I took a friend early on to have someone in the seat next to me. I remember those early days with gratitude because I’ve since found my tribe. Even if I’m at an IEP meeting solo, the comfort of the military special needs community is still present.
When Partners In PROMISE (PiP) was founded four years ago, one of our greatest aspirations was to provide military families one-on-one help. So often, families need guidance, encouragement, and support as we navigate PCS moves, IEP meetings, and the special education process in general. Our stories are unique, but we all share a deep desire to do our best for our kids. Overwhelmingly, the main barrier is information and access to support.
Parent & Student Support
Over the last few years, many PiP team members have communicated with families through email, discussed challenges over the phone and through Zoom, and attended virtual and in-person IEP meetings. They have also sat in parking lots to hash out game plans or give pep talks. We’ve coached students on advocating for themselves and invited them to participate in their IEP meetings.
The upside is we are here for families. The downside is our scope has always been relatively limited. With the help of a generous sponsor, PiP is very proud to announce we can officially expand a new resource to reach more military families!
What is It?
Two-hour 1:1 Special Education Parent Mentorship Program
Specially trained mentors in special education law and the process are available to help. They can identify positive steps to get families moving toward a desired solution.
Active duty military families enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) will always be our priority. This is particularly true for those who have a child in special education, given their high mobility. However, depending on space available, we can fit in veteran families as well.
How Much Does it Cost?
Due to our generous sponsor, USAA Foundation, this is a FREE service throughout the calendar year.
If you are interested in sponsoring this program for future years, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Do I Have to Do?
Complete an intake form and you will have the opportunity to click a link to schedule a 60-minute consultation by phone or Zoom. Before the call, gather IEP documents, evaluation results, compile questions, concerns, and think about a desired outcome.
How Does it Work?
Once PiP receives an intake form, we will review it and assign a mentor. PiP will pair families with a Parent Mentor who is more knowledgeable about specific diagnoses and (possibly) from the same service branch. Families and Parent Mentors can use the two hours as needed – the time doesn’t have to be used simultaneously. The two-hour mentorships for families provide our PiP team with time to listen and support families during crisis times, helping them get back on track. Most importantly, it aims to help each family feel less alone.
After the consultation, the family is required to complete a feedback form. This allows us to evaluate the data and understand how to improve the program. It also provides more effective training to our families.
If you are interested in participating in the 1:1 SPED Parent Mentorship Program, please complete this intake form or email email@example.com. We look forward to supporting you.
About the Author
A proud wife to an Army Aviator, Crystal has served the military community in many capacities over the last 20+ years and is committed to serving until and beyond her soldier’s retirement. She strongly believes in serving military families and the surrounding community at each duty station.
In 2014, her oldest son was diagnosed with a rare speech disorder and Autism. Two years later, her youngest son was diagnosed with the same speech disorder. These diagnoses thrust her family into the Special Needs and Special Education community. Driven by her passion to help, Crystal went back to school and focused her research on Civil Rights, Disability Rights, and Special Education Law.
Crystal has worked as a paralegal, advocate, and legal analyst in Special Education Law, facilitated panel discussions on protecting the most vulnerable, and taught courses on Special Education as a Civil Right, the importance of the 10th Amendment, and Disability as a Tenet of Diversity. She has been with Partners In PROMISE since its founding and currently serves as the Research Editor, Legal Analyst, and Parent Mentor. Crystal is deeply committed to policy changes to advance education policy and Disability Rights and works as Adjunct Faculty at The George Washington University.