You are your child's biggest Advocate! Here are 10 Basic Tips for Advocating for your child:
Tip #1: Trust Yourself
You are your Child’s First and Best Teacher! You know them best. You want the best for them, always! You are a consistent, lifelong influence.
Tip #2: Gather Information
About services, programs at school; about your child’s special needs/disability; your child’s strengths & weaknesses; and any relevant records or reports
Tip #3: Know Who the Players Are
Teachers, Service Providers, Coaches, Social Services; Know who holds the power to make the important decisions
Tip #4: Learn the Rules & Regs
Gather school policies and procedures, handbooks; know your child’s rights!
Tip #5: Plan & Prepare
for the next step or meeting. Decide what is most important, the main priority; Pick one or two issues only to address, too many muddy the waters
Tip #6: Identify the Problem
Might be person, place or thing; Ask questions: who, what, when, where, why, how?
Tip #7: Generate Multiple Solutions
Look “Outside the Box”; Seek Positive Ideas: make it a win-win for all
Tip #8: Define Action Plan and Next Steps
Set time frame for each step; State clearly who does what; Put plan in writing: IEP, Section 504 Plan, Letter
Tip #9: Follow Through
with Every Step with Every Person. Evaluate if it is not happening or why
Tip #10: Don’t Give up!
Tips for Handling Tough Conversations
* Begin with agreement
* Say “and” – not “but”
* Use lots of “I” statements
* Avoid negatives and absolutes
For more tips and information on how to better support your child, please contact the Parent Information Center at (307) 684-2277.