The benefits of joining a special education parent teacher association (SEPTA)


If you're a parent or teacher of a special needs child, you're likely familiar with the struggles that go along with it and need for extra support. As a parent or teacher of special needs children, it may help to become a member of a SEPTA, or special education parent teacher association. This is essentially a national special needs PTA organized and supported by the National PTA. SEPTAs are non-profit organizations available for all youth, ranging from preschool to high school. They aren't located in every community where there is a public school system, like PTAs, but anyone with special needs concerns is welcome to form a SEPTA that will operate separately from their community PTA. SEPTAs work to provide parents, teachers, and specials needs kids with support while helping to create policy change when needed. 

As a SEPTA member, you will be working with the local PTA in your area to provide additional support for your special needs children or students. This organization is designed to provide information about special needs services and educational laws, as well as raise awareness about any current needs to school administrators and the community. For those who have just discovered their child has special needs, the National PTA has a toolkit available to help parents become informed about the services available to them. SEPTAs can help inform parents of doctors, dentists, hairdressers, etc. who provide positive experience for special needs children. They also hold workshops and seminars on topics that can help spread awareness of special needs, as well as how to advocate on the behalf of the special needs community. They can also help parents to better understand their child's IEP and 504plan, as well as the rights of parents under IDEA. Additional benefits of joining a SEPTA include:

  • Support system for parents 

  • Ability to modify school and community events

  • Buddy Benches for elementary students at recess

  • Autism and special needs awareness days

  • Special tutoring services

  • Participation in the Reflections Art Contest

  • Special grants for teachers

  • Opportunities to raise funds for greater community support

  • Participation in Connect for Respect, an anti-bullying initiative

  • Support for leading Healthy Lifestyles

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If your child or student has special needs, you may require a bit more support than simply joining your local PTA. If your community does not have a SEPTA already in place, you are always welcome to start one. If you're wondering how to start a SEPTA, the National PTA has broken down the steps to take to form one in your own community. 

For those of you who would like additional support for your special needs child beyond the social and community support of a SEPTA, we welcome you to explore the services provided by Big Sky Therapeutic Services. We offer ABA therapy, as well as classes to help strengthen the bonds between parents and children with special needs. Our director, Brett Gilleo, is a proud SEPTA member who is dedicated to providing the best care and resources available for your family and child. We welcome you to reach out to us to learn more. Your family deserves to have the best special needs support available. 

Jayna Nickert