Arizona Alliance of Black

School Educators

A Teachers Guide to Navigating the Special Education Process  – Things You Can do to Make a Difference for Struggling Students Today!


This session will provide an overview of the procedural mandates of the special education process.  It will explore what is “required” under the federal regulations and compare those requirements to some common misinformation educators are often given as it relates to the referral, evaluation and identification of children with special education needs.  Gaining a deeper understanding of the procedural mandates of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, (“IDEA”) will equip educators to more effectively advocate for the children they teach and support. 

The presentation will also offer participants with a parent perspective of the special education process and provide insights into the difficulties families face as they attempt to advocate for their children who attend a public school.  These insights and a deeper understand of the IDEA procedural requirements will equip participants to more effectively work with parents and colleagues to ensure the needs of all children are being met, which will lead to better outcomes for children and educators alike.

David Jefferson is the founder of Parent Support Arizona, an organization that assists families across the state of Arizona by ensuring children and young adults with disabilities are supported as they seek resources through the public-school system, State Developmental Disability System and State Behavioral Health System.  This support is offered through direct advocacy services; parent training; professional development; providing tangible resources and facilitation of parent support groups.

David has devoted the past 10 years of his life to supporting children and young adults with disabilities.  He has done this as a foster parent, adoptive parent, advocate and community leader.  David believes all children deserve an opportunity to reach their full potential and he works hard to offer families and professionals who work with children the resources, support and advocacy they need to ensure these children can excel at home, at school and in the community.

In addition to his work with Parent Support Arizona, David also supports children and young adults with disabilities through his service as;
Board of Directors Treasurer for COPAA, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, (a national special education advocacy organization;
Board of Directors President for Reach Family Services, a behavioral health agency that uses a family run/lived experience model to support children who have mental health and behavioral health challenges; and
Board of Directors President for the NAGI Foundation and animal welfare agency that provides social emotional learning programs for at risk youth that incorporates the use of animals; and free spay / neuter / medical treatment services to community members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.