Parents Share their Advocacy Secrets
Read these inspirational stories of parents who got their kids the special help they needed.
A strategy that works for us is what we call the “Friday Report.” Each Friday, my son walks around to all of his teachers and has them create a sort of mini report card. When he gets home, he knows that he has to sit down and finish any outstanding assignments before he can start his weekend.
– Cindy, Kansas
It was an absolute nightmare getting my 11-year-old daughter to finish her homework each evening. My husband and I asked that she be allowed to spend more time in the resource room — as spelled out in her IEP — so that she could get help with her assignments while medication is still in her system. The school resisted, arguing that spending more time in the resource room would mean that she would have to skip health, music, art, and physical education. So I offered to home-school our daughter in those subjects. Now, with less homework after school, she’s on the county swim team, does ceramics, and is getting exposure to the arts – all without the stress of nightly battles over homework.
– MaryBeth, Indiana
If I periodically remind my son’s IEP committee that we’re all on the same team, I find that he’s more likely to get the services he needs — and I’m more likely to get answers to my questions. When there’s a gap between what my child needs and what the school offers, I say, “I’m not drawing the same conclusions. Would you please explain why it must be done (or not done) that way?” At the end of every meeting, I’m always careful to thank all those who have worked with my child.
It’s also important that we teach our children to advocate for themselves. In class, they can say, “I need a quick break to move around. May I deliver something to the office for you?” Teachers often respond better to such requests when they come from students rather than from their parents.
– Jackie, Virginia