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How an Advocate Helps Your Child with Special Needs

Are you feeling the stress of having to take care of the health, educational and emotional needs of your child with a disability? Or are you trying to cope with a cutting your hours at work and lowering your income or having to pay someone else for childcare?

There’s a way to get some help.

Look into getting an advocate. An advocate is a professional who has knowledge and expertise concerning the laws, courts, and special education and their applicable federal and state regulations and works within the bounds of these laws.

When you find an advocate, he or she will inform you, as the parent, of your child’s rights and will help your family in negotiating to maximize your financial benefits as well as resolving disputes with the school district. This helps you secure the best possible personal and educational success and appropriate government benefits and educational services for your child with special needs.

What exactly does an advocate do?

Make Sure Your Child Gets What He Needs

Have you ever been to an IEP meeting for your child and wondered if the school officials were telling you the truth? When you work with a qualified advocate you will understand your rights and the school district’s obligations. This will level the playing field for you.

Do you think your child would benefit from Assistive Technology?  Is it time to discuss transition? Has your child been having behaviors in school that impact his or her learning and you believe that the district has not tried everything they could?  An advocate can assist you in ensuring you have gotten all appropriate services for your child.

Clarify Everything

In order to effectively advocate for your child, you must know the wording and terminology. The school might use language you do not understand. This immediately puts you at a disadvantage.

School psychologists, special education teachers, and other related services professionals have gone to school for many years to understand how to test and interpret results. Most parents are not trained in the language that is used to report data. An advocate can review your evaluations, progress reports, and other data and explain to you what they mean, how they apply to your child, and what services your child may or may not be entitled to based on those results.

Help You Express How You Feel

As a parent of a child with special needs you have many roles, and this can be overwhelming when you are just trying to be a good parent. You also may not be comfortable speaking out or asking certain questions. Or, you tend to get emotional when speaking about your child. Having an advocate at your meeting will take the burden from you and allow you to participate while keeping your emotions in check.

Or, maybe you received your child’s IEP and it did not accurately reflect what occurred at your meeting. Many parents wrongly walk away without needed services when they are initially denied by the CSE. If you feel that your child is not receiving all the proper services, it is extremely important to speak to an advocate to know whether you have a right to a service for your child and what your next steps should be.

If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.

American Disability Association is dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of children with disabilities and actively provides support to enhance their quality of life. Whether you are dealing with federal or state benefits or struggling with a school district to get proper education for your child, we have the resources to help you. Many individuals and families managing a disability are not aware of the wide array of services available to them, or they do not know how to apply for these benefits in a way that is likely to succeed.

Contact us for help. Dial (877) 283-4807 or email us at [email protected]