It does not sound easy, but it is.
Because every parent can be an advocate for their child. Well let me rephrase that… Every parent NEEDS to be an advocate for their child!
I know, I know, it can be a bit scary sometimes, but it is so vital AND necessary!!! Without you, your child can get lost in the system. A system that, I might add, can be compared to a big black hole…dark, dreary, and a place you want to avoid.
So, do you know how to be an advocate? It is not hard. It can be cumbersome, yes, but not hard. As you start off, remember this mnemonic…A-D-V-O-C-A-T-E. I promise you it will get easier as you go along. As you go through the mnemonic, check the items off that you are already doing. If you are not doing these things, then add them to your advocacy checklist!
Welcome to your first step of becoming an advocate for your child! I am so proud of you!!!
Ask questions about your child’s IEP goals and objectives. If you do not understand something, ask someone to explain the information.
Denial. Do not let pride or embarrassment keep you from recognizing that your child may have some challenges. Strive to get the best services for your child so that their success will be limitless.
Volunteer and help out in your child’s school and classroom. They will love to see you around their school environment.
Know your Options and Parent Rights. Without them, you are clueless!
Communicate with your child’s teacher on a daily or weekly basis. Many teachers send home a communication sheet detailing a child’s daily progress. Make sure to read it and make comments if you have any. Unfortunately, some parents do not even look in their child’s bookbag. So make it a habit to open your child’s bookbag and folder every night.
Attend all meetings (i.e. IEPs, conferences, informal), if you can. You are an important part in your child’s success. If you do not attend meetings, you have no voice.
Talk to other parents and form play groups. Or, join a support group to share your story and bounce ideas off of one another. You need a support system!
Expect results. Stay positive and proud of all the achievements your child makes, whether they are big or small. Remember, you are not in this alone. You are your child’s number one advocate, so continue to stand up and do not give up in the process. Also, make sure to try new and different educational and behavioral strategies to help your child succeed. If one thing does not work, then try something else. The key is to make sure you stay active and positive in your child’s life. This way, they will have a successful independent future. That is the ultimate goal, right? If you are wondering if you need an advocate or trying to decide on the right advocate, read these posts!!!
So let’s begin!
What’s your biggest fear?