Act Early
All children from birth to age five should reach certain developmental milestones such as smiling, sitting up, taking a first step and talking. If your child is not reaching these milestones at the same time as other children of the same age, don’t be afraid to seek assistance. If your child is delayed in his or her development, or you know that your child was born with a disability, there are many programs, services and supports that may help your child reach his or her full potential. To learn more about these programs, click HERE.

To learn about fostering self-determination skills in children with disabilities at a young age, click HERE.

School Age
School age children with disabilities are entitled to receive special education services, at no cost to the family, through the public school system beginning on the day of your child’s 3rd birthday and ending at the age of 22. It is important to understand how special education works and what your child’s rights are under the law. To learn more about the special education system in Tennessee, click HERE and HERE.

Training and Technical Support
Through a grant funded by the Tennessee Department of Education, The Arc Tennessee is to provide technical assistance to families to help them navigate the special education system, to learn their child’s rights under the law, and to provide guidance and support at Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings. For help, email or call 615-248-5878 x 28.

Secondary Transition - from school to adulthood
For students receiving special education services in Tennessee the “official” age for transition planning begins at fourteen (14). The Arc Tennessee offers a variety of resources, workshops, technical assistance, and other supports to educators, students and families in the area of secondary transition including:

  • Student-directed IEPs
  • Getting a Head Start with Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Secondary Transition Process
  • Person-centered Planning
  • Stress Management for Students
  • Communication and Conflict Resolution
  • Alternatives to Conservatorship and Conservatorship
  • PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) Planning
  • Customized Employment

To learn more about how to bring this information to your community or for technical assistance with the IEP process, please email or call 615-248-5878 x 28.

Below are informational materials created by The Arc Tennessee or in collaboration with other organizations:

The Arc Tennessee has received a Letter of Agreement with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) to work with high school aged students age 14 to 22 that have disabilities to provide certain services designed to help them prepare for the world of work as adults. These students do not have to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan. They only need to have a diagnosis. Students do not have to apply for or be eligible for VR services. They only need to ask their teacher how to get Pre-ETS services with The Arc Tennessee.

The services we will be providing will be in the categories of: workplace readiness, postsecondary education counseling, and self-advocacy.

  • Workplace readiness will include learning about things like, appropriate dress for interviews and work; interview skills; attendance; interacting with co-workers and customers; problem-solving; reading a work schedule; appropriately calling in sick for work.
  • Secondary education counseling will include learning about different postsecondary education options; information on postsecondary programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities; information for other postsecondary educational programs; applying for postsecondary programs; applying for educational financial aid.
  • Self-Advocacy topics addressed will include, the history of the disability movement; having self-advocate speakers who share their stories; self-determination; student directed Individualized Education (IEP) meetings; basics of learning when/where to self-disclose your disability; learning how to assess your own need for accommodations.

For more information on the Pre-ETS Program, contact Loria Hubbard Richardson or phone (615) 248-5878 x 28.

Fact Sheet on Pre-ETS from Disability Rights Tennessee

Other Useful Resources:

Disability Coalition on Education
The Disability Coalition on Education (DCE) is a group of advocacy organizations, family members and others who take an active interest in the education of students with disabilities. DCE participates in opportunities for public comment on Department of Education (DOE) initiatives that impact students with disabilities, works collaboratively with DOE to address concerns brought to its attention, to share resources with families, and to impact change within the public education system that will benefit students with disabilities. Below are topics of interest to DCE:

To learn more about special education services in Tennessee, click HERE.

To learn more about special education in Tennessee Charter Schools, click HERE.

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The Secondary Transition Project is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee, Department of Education.

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