Special education advocate

Is your child frustrated in school?
Is that frustration causing him/her to give up trying?
Are you discouraged in your attempts to find the
proper education for your child?

All children can learn when they are provided with:
Individualized Strategies
Appropriate Services
Positive Reinforcement

An Educational Advocate is a professional who is familiar with the structure of the school system and with special education law, providing information to and representing parents of children with special needs as they work to acquire the appropriate services to which their child is entitled so that he or she can obtain an appropriate education.  An educational advocate is a professional that works with you and the school to obtain an appropriate education for your child’s specialized needs. This could also include that your child may be advised to earn a GED diploma rather than a regular high school diploma. Educational Advocates are familiar with the structure of the school system, special education law, and how to acquire the appropriate services that your child is entitled to so that she/he can reach their full potential.

It is an individualized educational program.  It is a written plan that acts as a contract between the parent, school, and child.  A team convenes and develops the plan which becomes the IEP.  The team consists of the parent, a special education teacher, a general education teacher,  a district liaison, and the student when appropriate.
There are goals and objectives that are based on the individual’s unique educational needs.  Appropriate accommodations and modifications will be included in order for the student to be able to achieve his/her goal or objective.  The setting or placement will be discussed and agreed upon by the team.  An IEP’s duration is normally one year but can be reconvened by parent or school as necessary to provide an appropriate education to the student. Progress towards the goals and objectives must be reported to the parent on an intermittent basis as agreed upon by the team.  This contract acts as the focal point between the parent and the school to clarify issues that may come up for the term of the IEP.

Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. To be eligible for a 504 Plan, a child must have at least one mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one major life activity. Major life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, writing, performing math calculations, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks. The 504 Plan describes accommodations or modifications provided by the school. The law does not require this plan but a parent can and should request one.

An Educational Advocate can help you navigate your way through the bureaucracy of the school system. An advocate has a good working knowledge of how a particular school district operates, and understands and stays abreast of the ever-changing laws pertaining to your child’s education. The advocate becomes part of your team as you pursue an appropriate education for your child.

WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU AS A PARENT?1Obtain all school records including any testing that has been done.2Review all records and testing in detail.3Evaluate your child’s present program.4Help obtain special education services if he/she does not have any at this time.5Help develop IEP’s and/or 504 Plans.6Attend meetings with you at the school.7Suggest strategies to implement which will assure that your child receives an appropriate education.8Follow up after meetings to make sure that the plan is being implemented and is working for your child.9Assist in transitions.10Make sure that your child receives all the services that he/she is entitled to under the law.