Special Education PTA
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a SEPTA?
SEPTA stands for Special Education Parent Teacher Association. National PTA first introduced the concept of SEPTA in 1996 to address the needs of parents of children with special needs.
What's the difference between a SEPTA and a regular PTA?
In many ways, SEPTAs are just like any other PTA. Every SEPTA has bylaws and a board of directors, including a President, Secretary and Treasurer. Like all PTAs, SEPTAs report their membership to California PTA and submit the same dues. And like all PTAs everywhere, SEPTAs exist to improve the welfare of children.
In other ways, SEPTAs are unique. SEPTAs are community-wide organizations. They aren't associated with a single school, like the vast majority of PTAs. And unlike most PTAs, SEPTAs focus primarily on special education issues and advocacy for children with disabilities.
Why should there be a PTA for parents of children with special needs?
Because parents of children with special needs have special needs themselves. They need to learn how to work with the special education teachers and other specialists who educate their children. They need to understand the system of special education and their rights under the law. And they need to connect with and support other parents in the same position. SEPTAs help meet these needs by bringing together people who have an interest in special education and providing a forum for them to share their experiences.
If I belong to a SEPTA do I need to become a member of the PTA in my child's school?
Yes. SEPTA members should also participate in their school PTA. School-based PTAs provide parent involvement opportunities that SEPTAs cannot.
Is SEPTA the only kind of special interest PTA?
No. National PTA and California PTA also encourage the formation of PTSA (Parent Teacher Student PTA) in middle and secondary schools, Early Childhood PTA for parents of young children and Senior Citizen PTA for older people who want to get involved in the PTA mission.
What Is SEPTA?
- SEPTA is a PTA within a school district. SEPTA brings together people who are interested in special education and children with special needs.
- SEPTA supports, strengthens and promotes the welfare of children with special needs.
- SEPTA promotes an understanding of special education and strives to enrich the lives of children with special needs.
What Are the Goals of SEPTA?
- To ensure that all children receive an education that allows them to reach their full potential.
- To bring together parents, families and teachers of children with special needs for sharing of experiences.
- To educate parents about special education, including the identification and placement procedures for children with special needs.
- To inform legislators, school boards, and the community about the importance of special education programs.
- To improve the lives of children by providing cultural, social and physical enrichment.
- To advocate for children with special needs and their right to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
Who Are SEPTA Members?
- Anyone who has an interest in the welfare of children with special needs.
- Parents, families, teachers, school administrators, students, friends.
- Membership is open to all.
How Can I Support SEPTA?
- Join a SEPTA.
- Attend meetings.
- Participate in programs.
- Volunteer your time.
Know Your Rights
If you suspect your child has a disability that interferes with learning, you can ask to have your child tested by your school district at no cost to you. You can do this even if your child does not attend public school.
You can see your child's school records and get a copy of the school records at no cost to you. If your child's school records contain incorrect or misleading information, you can ask to have the information corrected.
When your child is evaluated for special education, the school must explain the tests your child has been given. If you disagree with the school's evaluation, you can ask for additional testing or an independent evaluation at no cost to you.
You must be treated as a full and equal member of your child's IEP Team. You should be included in every decision about your child's special education.
If you disagree with decisions about your child's special education, you have many rights, including the right to mediation and due process.
Last Updated: 08/19/2010