Address: P.O. Box 199 Dayton, OH 45409
Are Advocacy Services Right for You?
If you're reading this blog, there is a strong chance that you are feeling frustrated, isolated, and
somewhat hopeless about getting your child's needs met in his or her current school setting. As a parent of kids with special educational needs, I am very familiar with the need for strong advocacy skills. This is of particular value when there are discrepancies between parents and the school as to how best meet the needs of your unique child. Even as a school psychologist, when I attempted to partner with the school to help my children, many times I found the experience to be frustrating, and often quite ineffective. I knew my kids better than anyone, and all I wanted was for them to find success and happiness in the academic setting. Parents want positive outcomes for their children. Unfortunately, this is often easier achieved for children who "fit" into the school culture than it is for children with more complex needs. I wondered why it was all so difficult and whether other parents were struggling with the same obstacles. I imagined how hard it must be for parents who didn't have a background in education.
I don't deny that the vast majority of school personnel want the very best for your child. However, sometimes, lack of knowledge about the specifics of how your child learns and how he or
she functions in the school setting, misunderstanding of special education processes, and even personality differences can result in your child falling through the cracks. Some educators feel powerless to help because they don't know what to do. Sometimes they don't have the resources they need to offer what is necessary to assist a student with exceptional needs. Acting out behaviors are sometimes viewed by educators as willful and under a child's control, when in fact, they are likely just the opposite.
You have the power to be an advocate for your child. Learn all you can about how your child's disability affects him or her in the school environment. Read about IDEA and section 504. Go to workshops put on by advocacy groups like OCECD. Know your rights and your child's rights. Ask for help when you need it. Most importantly - don't delay! Follow your instincts, and if things don't seem like they're on the right path, do the best thing you can do for your child...be her voice. If you're not sure how to start, or if you've tried and run into obstacles, special education advocates are a great resource. We're here to help!
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