Special Education

Parent Mentor - Meigs County 

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) recognizes the critical need of supporting and honoring families as the primary caregivers and educators of children. This critical role from birth into adulthood is challenging for families, and the challenges are often compounded for families of children with disabilities.

The state of Ohio developed a multi-tiered system of support, the Parent Mentors Project, nearly 30 years ago to offer a supportive peer relationship, an understanding of local school districts and organizational resources for families of students with disabilities, understanding of special education legislation, awareness of state resources and learning opportunities, and time for individualized interactions such as phone calls, and attending Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. 

A Parent Mentor guides families through the Special Education process by: 

  • Helping families understand their rights and responsibilities,
  • Attending the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) Meetings and other meetings at the request of families or staff. 
  • Listening to and supporting both family and educators on an individual basis, 
  • Providing information and resources to families and schools, 
  • Hosting information sessions, support/networking groups or training programs for families and educators, 
  • Engaging community service agencies and other resources to support families and schools,
  • Connecting families, schools and community partners to benefit students with special needs. 
  • and so much more!

A Parent Mentor is a guide and mentor to help the parent navigate the special education process and to develop their skills as an advocate, the best advocate for their child.  Working as a technical assistant to educator partners, the Parent Mentor supports the work of special education by conveying the parent perspective to the districts and helps the parents to understand their district’s responsibilities and perspectives.   A Parent Mentor is a partner to community agencies that support children with exceptionalities. They help connect families to local resources and to build networks of support for the child, school and, community.  A Parent Mentor works to educate the parents in the necessary supports so that the family will feel empowered as a member of the student's educational team.  With education and empowerment, the parent will be engaged in their child's educational present and future outcomes.  Because a Parent Mentor is a parent of a child with disabilities, they already know first hand the joys and the struggles of raising, educating, and loving an exceptional child.  Learn more about parent mentors here.

The AMESC provides the parent mentor for Meigs County schools.  Karen Smith can be reached by email at karen.smith@athensmeigs.com.