Parent Advocacy in Special Education

7/23/21

As a parent, you are at the mercy of those whom you entrust your child with, daily, while they are in school.  You assume that your child’s best interests are always being considered and that decisions made on their behalf reflect this.  As someone who has been on the caretaker/teacher side, I can tell you that you are usually safe to make that assumption.  But there are times when this is simply not true. 

Teachers are dedicated and, if they have chosen this field of special education, you want to believe that they have a heart that’s a little different from the average person and patience that goes a little deeper than other professions demand.  Again, you are safe to make this assumption and more often than not, you will be rewarded for your trust. 

But as in any field of business, decisions are often made without your knowledge or, when told, you are asked to trust that they are made in your child’s best interest.

More often than not, a child’s educational decisions/plans are made with the best of intentions.  Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t but not because they were ill-considered.  However, and because this is, sadly, a business, some are made out of convenience, student numbers (population size), financial reasons or other.  

I have seen many parents give up their rights and hand over trust that anything being done to and for their child is judged best by the school personnel.  I have particularly seen this among families whose first language is not English and who may not fully understand what they are being told or are too intimidated by the language barrier to question.  I have watched this roll over all too often and it frustrated and concerned me.  

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

You have the right to question EVERY decision being made on behalf of your child.  I encourage you to know your rights as the parent of a child with extra needs to be sure that they are getting everything owed to them and that they deserve.  

Don’t let a person’s Masters degree, PhD and other academic letters stop you from thinking that, if you believe something is not right, that they must know better.  If something feels wrong never hesitate to ask even the most simple questions.  If it is a question for you then it is a legitimate question. 

I have personally had to watch as decisions were made that I believed were highly questionable regarding a student.  In those instances my hands were tied by the majority, administration or both.  Cases are sometimes made to parents that can be convincing yet, leave you uncertain.  Being unaware of your rights or neglecting to research what is being told to you may impact your child in such a way that can sell them short of their potential.  Don’t believe that mistakes aren’t made.  Don’t let your child suffer because of it.  

There are advocates who can fight for and with you.  There are resources at your fingertips.  Use them all to position your child for her/his best chance at a great school experience and be given the opportunities to live to her/his potential. 

Parent Advocate

Below are links to resources you will want to read and understand.  If you would like more, there are endless online documents and websites. If you would like my help navigating please feel free to contact me.  

You are the parent.  You are the strongest advocate for your child!  It’s in your hands. 

Peace and Keep Rising!

https://www.advocatesforchildren.org/who_we_serve/students_with_disabilities

(This relates to advocacy in New York.  Google advocacy for where you live)


https://www.verywellfamily.com/parental-importance-special-education-2162701





(This is a network in NJ. Find one in your area)

Published by riseup20

I am a retired teacher with a creative bent and I am excited to bring attention and assistance to parents and caregivers of children with special needs. Mark

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