Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

Janet Kinstetter- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison- Moorcroft

Janet Kinstetter- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison- Moorcroft

Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society.


Before the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, more commonly known as Public Law 94-142 and most recently, Individuals with Disabilities and Educational Act 2004, the educational needs of our children with disabilities were not being met;  many children were excluded from the regular classroom and were not able to interact with their peers at all;  many children with disabilities participating in the regular classroom didn’t have success in the classroom because their disabilities weren’t known. Due to lack of services in the public schools, families had to find other services at their own expense.

After many amendments to the law children with disabilities now have access to a free and appropriate public education.  As parents we have high expectations for our children with disabilities: 

·         We need to engage in parent involvement endeavors with the school, which is essential.

·         Our children should be included in the general curriculum as much as possible with the special education and related services and supports as needed.

·         The staff supporting our children should be highly qualified so they have the knowledge and skills to meet their individual needs.

·         We all want the same things, for our children with special needs to lead productive and independent adult lives and find employment after high school.

So what this means for me and my child who has autism are; I am in partnership with my school and have a very important role to play in my son’s education. I ensure that my son is educated with peers as much as possible; and I have high expectations for him and excellent prospects for his post high school employment.

I want for my son, the same thing I want for my other children which is to be happy, productive, living as independently as possible and to have a job he loves and excels at!  IDEA 2004 helps make this all this possible. 



Comments on: "What IDEA Means to Me" (9)

  1. Blanca Moye said:

    thank you very much for this whole information been very helpful for me

  2. Betty said:

    Janet you are so right, we have come so far in the last 30 years, I happened to be on a website about the history of people with disabilities from way back in the 12th century till now, WOW have we made progress and all because of a parent movement back in the 40’s and 50’s.
    Never underestimate the power of parents.

  3. Michele said:

    Janet I like your statement about our parent involvement with the school. So we can all work together to help our children succeeed in school with their peers. Great post Janet.

  4. I appreciate IDEA 2004. I feel that it has LOTS of language that can be interpreted one way in one State and another way in another State and neither are exactly right, or exactly wrong. I think it’s one of the many, many steps, parents, advocates, teachers, and others, have made in the right direction, but I also feel that it is LONG from finished. I thought that the webinar on the new ADA had some good ideas that should be made into IDEA. I think even I have some good ideas that should be incoorperated into IDEA – and I know that are many attorneys that just shake their heads depending on what judicial district you are in, and their interpretation of the law.
    However, I am still proud of how far we’ve come in a relatively short period of time. It wasn’t that long ago that FDR HID his wheelchair behind the Resolute desk in the oval office. That won’t happen anymore. We’ve got our first bi-racial president, echoing in the annals of time is the melodic, and deeply moving voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream…..”, assisinated on April 8, 1968, when I was one year old. Look how far we’ve come in 40 years! Imagine what 40 more will bring! In 2008 – 09 we’ve had more Vets return with bonafide symptoms of PTSD, than ever before, never studied during Vietnam. People are actually looking into it, actually caring, and you will not suffer alone and untreated.
    I think we’ve come along way into putting the ‘human’ back into humanity. It’s been a long road, but we are getting there.
    Thanks Janet, lovely post.

  5. I have been involved with disabilities and the school district for many many years. You can not imagine what wonderful life IDEA has given people with disabilities. I do not have room to write about it but have so many stories. I remember keeping the secret of a disability in my community, no chance at education, socialization or rights at all. All the whispers, blaming, and excuses that were used when referring to this person’s option at life. Just existance for the person and their family!

  6. Marcy said:

    I agree with Terri that quite often our unsung heroes in the classrooms are the paras…those that typically have the most contact with our kids but yet often times are paid very little and have been offered little to know specialized training or education. It would be wonderful to see some of that extra money put to such a worthwhile use.

  7. I would love to see our para-educators be given more money on wages and more training with the stimulus funding. Many times the folks that spend the most amount of time with our most vulnerable and involved students and the ones who have the least amount of trianing and education. Para-educators are key to many of our children’s success.

  8. Janet,
    How do you think our local schools should spend the IDEA stimulus funds? It sounds like you have a very good relationship with the your child’s school. Do you think they will ask for input from parents on the types of services or supplies and equipment that will be upgraded?

    • Para educators are definitely the unsung heroes. It would be great if some of the IDEA stimulus funds could go towards increasing wages for our para educators. I believe my school district will ask for input on what type of services, equipment or other supplies are needed. I was talking with one Special Education director and she is sending out surveys to parents requesting input.

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