By Marianne from TheCoffeeKlatch
Ten Tips For Special Education Advocates
Remember, your goal is to assist parents in achieving an appropriate education for their child.
1. Good advocates facilitate the IEP process.
Advocates must set an example for the entire IEP Team. They must be a role model of behavior for the parent. Challenging school experts, demeaning school staff, or being inconsiderate or impolite, will not advance the child’s cause. Your goal is to get better school services for the child. Good advocates ask questions and make valuable suggestions to advocate for a child. It is okay to disagree. It is not okay to put down or verbally attack someone.
2. Good advocates know the child and understand the disability.
Do your homework before you attempt to advocate for the child. Research the child’s disability. Be ready with ideas about instructional methods that are research-based and peer-reviewed. Meet the child and the family in the home environment. Put off making recommendations until you fully understand how the child’s disability affects his or her life and education.
3. Good advocates try to reduce existing barriers between the parent and the school.
Your goal is to bring the school and the parent closer to agreement. Good advocates explain to parents that negotiation is part of the IEP Team process – and a part of life! Pouring gasoline on a fire ensures that everyone gets burned and does not improve the child’s lot.
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