Education Advocacy & Support

On average, in Muskegon County, there are approximately 3500 students receiving special education services and supports.  Often times, parents and students need help navigating the education process, understanding special education laws, their rights, how to achieve a student’s maximum potential during the school years and receive a free and appropriate education.  Please visit the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)on The Arc US website (

Students eligible for special education services will complete an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) ( of service on an annual basis.  This Plan will consist of educational goals for the school year, services needed to support them and any other accommodations needed.  It is a team approach.  The IEP team consists of the parents/guardian, student, teachers, therapists, school administrator and whoever else is playing a role in the students educational journey.  An example might even be the bus driver.

Students who need accommodations even for education success but do not meet the threshold of an IEP eligibility may have a 504 Plan ( also developed on an annual basis.

The Arc Muskegon offers a number of services and resources to assist families, professionals and students participating in special education services.

Services/Supports Include:

  • Special Education advocates/mentors to meet with parents attend meetings/phone consultations
  • Support in navigating the educational system
  • Link to state and national information and resources
  • Connection to Michigan Alliance for Families (MAF) – The State of Michigan’s federally funded parent, training and information center
  • Advocacy Training
  • Seminars/workshops for parents, professionals and students!

What to Expect When You Call for Special Education Advocacy Support Services

Thank you for contacting The Arc Muskegon.  In order to help meet the needs of each parent/professional who contacts us for support in navigating the special education system, we have developed the following general guidelines and best practices.

What to expect when you call or email

  1. Phone conversation/consultation.
  2. Gather pertinent information (current IEP, evaluation, etc.)
  3. Set up meeting if deemed necessary
  4. Release and advocacy agreement, signed, if applicable.
  5. Hold meeting with parent/student (releases need to be signed).   -Review information     -Identify further needs and supports able to provide
  6. Plan and attend IEP
  7. Follow-up as needed.
  8. File created and stored at The Arc Muskegon
  9. Add parent to data base(s) to stay and keep informed.
  10. Satisfaction Survey sent
  11. All information gathered and stored is confidential.

From time to time the school and parents cannot agree on certain issues or services.  At this point, we do step back if an attorney or mediation is recommended and pursued.

See our Resource Section for more!