top of page

5 Ways to Advocate for Your Child Effectively - Part One

Advocacy can take many forms. Often people hear the word “advocacy,” and they may think of the acts, actually struggles, of individuals or groups who take action to influence government programs and policies. For example, a parent may request that their child's school district provide specific services for special needs students. Advocacy can also include educating schools and community groups about special needs students to help them better understand their condition.

Advocacy is needed to ensure all students have access to quality education. The laws governing public schools require schools to provide special services for children with learning disabilities who qualify for such services. The criteria for eligibility vary from state to state, but all schools must adhere to a minimum federal standard. To determine the laws in your state and your rights as a parent, you can contact your local school district office or your state Department of Education.

As a parent, you are your child's best education advocate—until they are old enough and informed enough to speak up for themselves. You know your child's strengths and challenges and can help identify and push for the necessary resources to succeed.

Make communication with your child a priority, and make sure you ask questions.

Numerous studies have shown that children make healthier, more informed choices and perform better in school when they have a warm, positive relationship with their parents. Parents who want to help their children overcome school challenges should ask direct questions regularly and carefully evaluate their answers. For example, you may start with a simple icebreaker question by asking your child, "What do you love about school?" Next, you can follow up with questions that might include "What do you find easy to do at school each day?" and "If you had a choice, what subject would you prefer to do once a week rather than every day?"

Understand your child's right

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that guarantees children with disabilities the right to a free and appropriate public education. Under IDEA, your child might have the right to extra time on tests and other accommodations or modifications. You can learn more about your school’s legal obligations to provide your child an evaluation and other services by contacting your local Parent Training and Information Center. You might also consider finding a parent advocate to help you during important meetings with school officials.

To support your child’s learning and attention issues:

  1. Become familiar with the typical characteristics of children with these issues.

  2. Remain informed about research in this area, watch videos or attend workshops to learn more about your child’s specific challenges.

  3. Explore your child’s strengths so you can work with the school to find ways to support how he learns.

Understand Your Child's Individual Education Plan (IEP)

Successfully advocating for a child with a learning disorder depends on understanding the Individual Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is a personalized education plan that considers a child’s specific needs and outlines a modified curriculum with practical goals for academic success. Parents, special education experts, teachers, and any other specialists on your child’s team should participate in the development of the IEP, which they must carefully monitor to assess whether your child is meeting their educational goals.

Staying Organized is Key

Keeping and organizing all paperwork concerning your child’s education is essential, including report cards, progress reports, multidisciplinary evaluations, medical records, and helpful homework samples. For example, you can create an IEP binder to keep all your child's paperwork in one place.

Remember, you are not alone, and resources are available to help you advocate for your children. If you need guidance on how to best advocate for your child effectively, we encourage you to schedule a session with one of our Elite consultants to help determine your next steps.

7 views0 comments
bottom of page