Tips from an Advocate
Over the years I have suggested that parents look into The Special Ed Advocate which is a wonderful source for important information to help parents with the education of their children. This month I thought I would share some tips from Pat Howey, an advocate for children. I hope that this information will encourage parents to look into The Special Ed Advocate because they will find answers for many issues. Here are some of her suggestions.
l. If your child has an Individual Education Plan, I.E.P., review this document. Don’t let it sit in a
file once you receive it. You must continue to monitor the plan to know that the modifications
and accommodations are being offered to your child. If your child does not have an I.E.P., con-
tinue to monitor his ongoing progress. If you don’t see progress, speak up.
2. Meet with the teacher to discuss unique needs your child may have. If these needs are not
addressed, your child may fail. Don’t say the dreaded words, “The teacher doesn’t have time!”
This is our job. Your child’s success is our success. If these possible problems are handled
correctly and consistently, they will not be problems, just bumps on the road to success.
3. Pat also suggests that you make a list of five important things that a teacher should know about
your child. This could be in areas of weakness or strength. This is an excellent suggestion and
will help the teacher continue to be aware of these areas.
4. Keep a notebook to communicate with the teacher. Take time to write notes to help the teacher
stay informed. You can also use this notebook to return notes to school which will prevent your
children from losing them.
Leslie Seid Margolis, an attorney, also offers some good advice. One of her recommendations is to create good relationships with school staff. When there are disputes, she suggests that parents “take the high road.” This is not always easy when parents believe that their children are not receiving the academic program they need to succeed. This is why The Special Ed Advocate will be extremely helpful in providing information that parents need to address the issues and know their rights.
Parents, you must do your homework. Take the time to document your concerns. Spend time with your children. Supervise homework completion, especially with little ones. Find good sources of information to help you become a good advocate for your children.
Peter Wright will be offering a conference on Special Education Law and Advocacy Training on Nov. 10 at the JFK Airport Hilton in Jamaica. Included in the cost of the conference are breakfast, lunch, and four books. As a child, Pete struggled with a learning disability. Now he is an attorney who fights for the rights of children with disabilities. This conference will be an invaluable experience for anyone who is able to attend. If interested, send me an email and I will forward contact information.