Special Education PTA
A: SEPTA stands for Special Education Parent Teacher Association. National PTA first introduced the concept of SEPTA in 1996 to address the needs of parents of children with special needs.
Q: How many SEPTAs are there in New Jersey?
A: As of June, 2007, there are seven SEPTAs in NJ, including ours in MTSD which was chartered July 10, 2007
Q: What’s the difference between a SEPTA and a regular PTA?
A: In many ways, SEPTAs are just like any other PTA. Every SEPTA has bylaws and a board of directors, including a President, Secretary and Treasurer. Like all PTAs, SEPTAs report their membership to New Jersey PTA and submit the same dues. And like all PTAs everywhere, SEPTAs exist to improve the welfare of children.
In other ways, SEPTAs are unique. SEPTAs are community-wide organizations. They aren’t associated with a single school, like the vast majority of PTAs. And unlike most PTAs, SEPTAs focus primarily on special education issues and advocacy for children with disabilities.
Q: Why should there be a PTA for parents of children with special needs?
A: Because parents of children with special needs have special needs themselves. They need to learn how to work with the special education teachers and other specialists who educate their children. They need to understand the system of special education and their rights under the law. And they need to connect with and support other parents in the same position. SEPTAs help meet these needs by bringing together people who have an interest in special education and providing a forum for them to share their experiences.
Q: If I belong to a SEPTA do I need to become a member of the PTA in my child’s school?
A: Yes. SEPTA members should also participate in their school PTA. School-based PTAs provide parent involvement opportunities that SEPTAs cannot.
Q: Is SEPTA the only kind of special interest PTA?
A: No. National PTA and NJ PTA also encourage the formation of PTSA (Parent Teacher Student PTA) in middle and secondary schools, Early Childhood PTA for parents of young children and Senior Citizen PTA for older people who want to get involved in the PTA mission.
- National PTA Launches Special Education Listserv - Realizing that PTA members with
children with disabilities are often geographically dispersed and, in some cases,
isolated from other parents facing similar issues, National PTA has created a listserv
to facilitate the sharing of information and resources. The listserv also will provide
National PTA a public forum to keep PTA members informed on issues affecting
students with disabilities and will help National PTA staff effectively respond to issues
facing this segment of our membership. This listserv is the most recent development
in local and National PTA efforts to provide support to families of children with
disabilities. There are 172 local PTAs dedicated to special education issues nationwide,
including units in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland,
Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas. To join the
listserv, go to www.pta.org/specialed and fill out the required fields.