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DFC’s Special Education Reform Program provides assistance to families, principals, teachers, Local School Councils, and social service agencies to assist them in creating appropriate educational programs for Chicago students with disabilities.

This effort places a primary focus on helping to ensure that students with disabilities are educated in the regular education program and master the regular education curriculum, consistent with the most current federal law (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA) and with the Corey H. Settlement Agreements.

The ABLE Coalition:
Advocates Behind Legal Education
DFC encourages parents of children with disabilities to take advantage of training opportunities and join a parent support group. A parent support group will provide needed emotional support and valuable feedback and information from other parents. You will also get a better idea of systemic issues and how they impact on other children with disabilities. Parent group meetings are a great place to compare strategies and share stories from the field!

Parent Training and Partnerships Project
DFC is a Parent Training and Information Center. Each Parent Training and Information Center provides training and information to parents of infants, toddlers, school-aged children, and young adults with disabilities and the professionals who work with their families. Funding for the Project is provided through the Parent Training and Partnerships Project Grant from the Illinois State Board of Education. 100% of funds are from federal sources.

The other Parent Training and Information Centers in Illinois are:

Family Matters

Family Resource Center on Disabilities

Click here or scroll down for other local special ed and disability resources.

ISBE Memo Details LRE Procedures
Read or download a memorandum from Christopher Koch, Director of Special Education for the Illinois State Board of Education. Dated April 10, 2003, this memo gives guidance for the appropriate procedures for determining placement in the Least Restrictive Environment and identifying and providing appropriate special education and related services. Includes links and contact info for resources around the state.


Corey H. Lawsuit
Ending Illegal Segregation of Chicago's Students with Disabilities: Strategy, Implementation, and Implications of the Corey H. Lawsuit
Prepared for the Conference on Minority Issues in Special Education, the Civil Rights Project of Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. November 2000.
This paper analyzes key aspects of the Corey H. lawsuit, which aims to end the illegal segregation of students with disabilities in Chicago and Illinois. In this paper, the authors place major emphasis on explaining (1) the multi-method advocacy effort (which includes parent organizing, media advocacy, and lobbying) that has been employed to support the Corey H. litigation and its settlement agreements and (2) the crafting of remedies in the lawsuit based on viewing schools and school districts as complex “human systems.”

Download a copy of this report in pdf format

Resources for Parents
Understanding Your Rights
Download a copy of this report in pdf format

Advocacy Strategies to Make Your IEP More Effective
The IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is a legally mandated document that when written correctly, should address how a child’s special needs will be accommodated in the child’s LRE (Least Restrictive Environment). An effective IEP is a well-negotiated document that requires a team approach in determining what specialized services, adaptations and modifications may be needed to enable your child to make progress in their appropriate school placement.
Download a copy of this report in pdf format

Special Education and Disability Resources

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) maintains an excellent special education web page at http://www.isbe.state.il.us/spec-ed/

Equip For Equality
Established in 1985, Equip for Equality is a Governor designated Federal protection and advocacy system for children and adults with physical and mental disabilities in Illinois. They offer self advocacy training, one-on-one self advocacy assistance, legal advocacy and public policy advocacy.

LRE Clearinghouse
The LRE Clearinghouse has been funded by ISBE to provide information and resources for parents and teachers to increase their knowledge about how students with disabilities can be successfully integrated and educated in regular classroom settings.

Project CHOICES is a "least restrictive environment" initiative funded ISBE. There are two components to the Project: CHOICES, which supports school-aged children; and Early CHOICES, which supports preschool-aged children.

Illinois Autism/PDD Training & Technical Assistance Project
An ISBE initiative which provides training and technical assitance focused on educating students with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).

StarNET Region II StarNET is an ISBE project to assist the early childhood community serving young children with special needs throughout Illinois. StarNET Region II serves young children, families and communities in the DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and North/West Suburban Cook counties.

StarNET Region V StarNET Region V serves the Chicago Public Schools.


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