Navigating Special Education: The Power of Building Positive Parent-Educator Partnerships

Peggy S. Bud, MS; Tamara L. Jacobson, MS, EdD
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
March 2023
Item Number:
Product Dimensions:
6.00 x 9.00 inches

Book Description

This timely and innovative roadmap for parents, educators, and administrators highlights the importance of effective communication methodology, appropriate correspondence, and data collection recommendations. Effective communication is often missing from the IEP team’s conversation. Navigating Special Education provides a foundation for building proactive, positive partnerships that will lead to 21st century best practices for special needs students. 

The 5C Model of Communication: Conversations, Collaboration, Cooperation, Compromise, and Consensus presented in Navigating Special Education helps to forge trusted alliances between school districts and families.  

Navigating Special Education draws upon the authors’ 60-plus years of combined experience by using: 
  • Anecdotal, evidence-based real-life scenarios
  • Templates for letter writing and extensive data collection
  • A user-friendly appendix and glossary of terms

As stakeholders, wouldn't you like to have successful meetings where everyone’s voice is heard, respected, and understood? After reading Navigating Special Education, families, educational professionals, college students, and special education organizations will be able to implement effective models of communication and build positive partnerships.  

More Information


Navigating Special Education is a very useful resource for parents trying to obtain educational support for their children. Encouraging positive communication and using a data-driven approach, it helps promote a win-win situation for parents and educators. This book provides helpful historical context and constructive advice illustrated with real-life examples to handle what can be an overwhelming and tense process. I wish I had read this book earlier and have already applied the practical learnings to build a positive partnership and successfully support my son’s educational experience. I am a better parent because of it.”
—Hilary Kinney, parent and author of Project Management for Parents

 “Parents, teachers, and administrators all start out with the child's best interests at heart when designing an IEP, but all too often, they fall short of that goal. Navigating Special Education is a practical guide to frontloading the process by putting relationships and communication first. The premise is unique because the authors have used their vast experience to gain insight into a winning mindset: Clear communication leads to trust. In a trusting partnership, creativity can thrive and children can receive a first class education directly suited to their individual needs.”
—Enia Noonan, parent, general education teacher, special education teacher
 “Whether you are new to the special education process or have years of experience, there is always room for productive and positive conversations. Navigating Special Education provides the pathway to fruitful partnerships through connection, mutual respect, and communication. The relationships between members of the IEP team are built on trust and openness, with one clear goal steering the ship: the success of the student.  For parents and educators alike, Navigating Special Education offers concrete examples of how to work together so that the entire team can approach their meetings without unnecessary anxiety and stress, leading to the best possible outcomes for the students.”
—Kristen R. Massimo, MAEdL, school principal and special education consultant
 “I found Navigating Special Education to be very thorough in explaining every aspect of the IEP process. The case studies/example stories presented were especially helpful as lead-ins to some chapters and sections. The book is clearly written by authors who are experts in their field. They are knowledgeable about every step of the process and give good advice for parents on how to do everything from beginning the IEP procedure to revising it, as well as tactics on how to suggest changes or disagree with a school district’s recommendations.”
—Marisa Starr, parent of a child with an IEP
 “As a parent who has attended years of IEP sessions, I have a tremendous appreciation for Peggy and Tamara's expertise that they share in their book. It is an excellent, comprehensive resource loaded with relatable case studies, step-by-step guidance, examples, and a full glossary. Their 5C Model is a practical approach to the complicated IEP world. I highly recommend Navigating Special Education: The Power of Building Positive Parent–Educator Partnerships to both parents and administrators.”
—Mary Abbazia, parent and managing director of Impact Planning Group“As a coach and college professor, I have looked for years for a resource that supports educators in developing a consistent, nonadversarial approach to the IEP development and implementation. This must-read book highlights the importance of communication in building a strong partnership between parents and educators with the goal of creating an actionable plan everyone can support. Peggy and Tamara’s methodologies can help all stakeholders in navigating the intricacies of collaboration, consensus building, and agreement on required service delivery.”
—Lauri Susi, retired professor, University of North Carolina: Greensboro, education coach, professional development trainer
 “Navigating Special Education: The Power of Building Positive Parent–Educator Partnerships by Peggy S. Bud & Tamara Lee Jacobson targets parents of special needs children who are new to the process of working with educators in developing appropriate interventions to meet their child's educational needs. It also aims to increase those educators' sensitivities to the importance of collaborative communication when partnering with parents.  
The authors' thesis is that good communication skills, outlined in their 5C Model of Communication, along with listening, perspective-taking, and data collection, are required in building positive home–school partnerships. The authors' public school careers in speech-language pathology, teaching, administration and supervision, and their experiences as a parent of a special needs child make them well-qualified to tackle the subject matter presented in the book.   
The book is written in a positive tone and an organized manner. The book's strength comes from its focus on the role communication plays in either derailing or assisting successful outcomes in the special educational process in public school settings. Both parents and educators will likely find, as I did, that the many case vignettes included in the book are instructive and bring clarity to the authors' point of view. I particularly recommend it to parents new to the special education process.”
—Sherrill Werblood, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology, Yale Child Study Center