Together we can help families help their kids

Access a free and appropriate public education

S.E.L.F. Pop Quiz

How many CT special ed students are outplaced in other public or specialized private schools?


Almost 9,000 Connecticut special ed students are outplaced.

How many students are considered special education in New York and Connecticut?


 Over 500,000 in New York and almost 80,000 in Connecticut.

Before IDEA, what percent of students with disabilities were receiving an education?


 Only 20%, or 1 in 5, students with disabilities received an education before IDEA.

S.E.L.F.’s mission is to level the special education playing field for all families.

The Need for S.E.L.F.

Although a free and appropriate public education is a right guaranteed to all students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the realities of special education in the US can be quite different. Parents and educators may disagree on the appropriate education of a student with specific needs: its goals, scope, and execution.

In Connecticut, the legal cost to bring a special education case to a due process hearing can be in excess of $50,000. These financial realities make protecting a child’s rights in special education inaccessible to all but the very affluent.

12.3 million or 1 in 6 children aged 3 thru 17 years have one or more developmental disabilities.

What S.E.L.F. Does

Meet the S.E.L.F. Team

Christine W. Lai (Executive Director/Co-Founder) is a longtime advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities and currently is a director of NEXT for Autism.

Christine Lai

Ulrika Drinkall (Board Chair/Co-Founder) has been advocating for children with special needs, including her 9-year old son, for over 6 years. 

Ulrika Drinkall