While seeking parent resources, I came across ten excellence tips for effectively advocating for your child. The article serves as a “how-to” briefing for parents of children who have learning disabilities. Experienced special education teacher and mother of a special needs child, Sandy Gauvin, explained what it means to be an advocate:
“An advocate is someone who speaks up for someone else, or who acts on behalf of another person.
As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else, and you are in the best position to speak for him and act on his behalf.”
Sandy is realistic when explaining the time and effort that goes into advocating for a child. She empowers parents to become involved and informed, as well as to teach the professionals about their child. Building a collaborative working relationship with the child’s team and saving all documentation are key factors to moving forward with support. She emphasized that ongoing communication is key – ask questions, share information, and do your part to foster a positive partnership. One of the greatest ways that parents can advocate for their child is to help others see him in a positive light. A good friend of mine made a scrapbook about her daughter and shared it with her teachers. This helped the teachers see the child in her greatest moments surrounded by people who love her. What a great way to build a bond and to help teachers teach a child, knowing her interests and favorite experiences! Sandy ends her article by reminding parents to give the gift of self-advocacy to their child, writing:
Give him the power to make his life a success!
To access the entire article, follow this link: http://lqou.cn/661304-10-Ways-You-Can-Advocate-For-Your-Child-With-A-Learning.html
Advocating for your child may feel exhausting, discouraging, and isolating. Reach out for help. You are not alone. Connecting with another parent or group could be just as much a gift for them as it is for you. Likewise, be a voice for your child by contacting your government representative or lobbyist. This moment does not define the rest of your life…take a step forward. The day will arrive when you know for sure that every ounce of effort you devoted to your child has returned to you in blessings.
The internet offers a wealth of information. For instance, I came across:
- www.passforkids.com which provides information and support to parents. On the site, they share their contact info: they provide this link to information about how to confirm if your child is struggling: http://www.passforkids.com/files/What_is_a_Struggling_Student_Checklist.pdf
- http://www.copaa.net/ which links you to Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates: A national voice for special education rights and advocacy
- http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Ed_Fighting_Good_Fight/ which provides an article with more links to useful resources. It also suggests when you might consider hiring an advocate for your child.
Marnee Brick, MSc
Speech-Language Pathologist and Director of Speech Therapy
TinyEYE Therapy Services (Speech Therapy Telepractice)
Growing smiles, mending spirits, engaging children in their lives