September 22, 2012

How to become an advocate for your child

Peter W. D. Wright, Esq.
Good special education services are intensive and expensive. Resources are limited. If you have a child with special needs, you may wind up battling the school district for the services your child needs. To prevail, you need information, skills and tools.

Who can be an advocate?
Anyone can advocate for another person. Here is how the dictionary defines the term:
(ad-vo-cate) – Verb, transitive. To speak, plead or argue in favor of. Synonym is support.

1. One that argues for a cause; a supporter or defender; an advocate of civil rights.
2. One that pleads in another’s behalf; an intercessor; advocates for abused children and spouses.
3. A lawyer. (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition)
Advocates perform several functions: They support, help, assist and speak on behalf of others.

Different Types of Advocates
Special education advocates work to improve the lives of children with disabilities and their families. You are likely to meet different types of advocates.

Lay advocates use specialized knowledge and expertise to help parents resolve problems with schools. When lay advocates attend meetings, write letters and negotiate for services, they are acting on the child’s behalf. Most lay advocates are knowledgeable about legal rights and responsibilities. In some states, lay advocates represent parents in special education due process hearings. READ MORE >>

Courtesy of Spectrum Publication
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

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