Jul 23, 2007

Five Steps to Becoming Your Child's Best Advocate

Yahoo Education gives the definition of advocate as follows: "To speak, plead, or argue in favor of. One that argues for a cause; a supporter or defender. One that pleads on another's behalf." Who better to argue for, support and defend your child than you, the parent? No one else will care as deeply or believe in your child more than you. That's why it is of the utmost importance that you take your role as advocate seriously. Here are five steps to help you do just that.

  1. Start with the assumption that you are an equal partner in your child's education.

  2. Deal with your perceptions or feelings about yourself as a parent of a child with ADHD/LD.

  3. Acquire knowledge. You don't have to memorize everything, just be aware and ask questions. Learn about the IDEA 2004, how the system works, and know the people involved in your sons' educational decisions.

  4. Improve your skills.......communication, documentation, letter writing, and record keeping.

  5. Participate. This is the most important thing you can do for your child. Participate in the development of your child's IEP. Share your ideas, ask questions, and attend all meetings. Also, participate in teacher conferences, parent group meetings (PTA), and school functions.

Always remember that you are an equal partner and do not be intimidated. Your child's school will more than likely welcome your advocacy and fully understand your doing so.

(Adapted from Pro-Parents newsletter, Spring/Summer 2007)

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