Examples of How to Begin Resolving an Issue
Parents are often the best educational advocates for their children, especially children with learning disabilities. Discover these tips to help you be a strong champion for your child.
All public schools abide by specific laws and regulations, which provide special services for children with learning disabilities who qualify for such services. The criteria for eligibility vary from state to state, but all schools must adhere to a minimum federal standard. To find out the laws in your state and your rights as a parent, contact your local school district office, or state Department of Education.
If your child is having difficulty in school or you think a change to your child’s Individualized Educational Program
(IEP) is needed, communicating with the appropriate school or district personnel is often the quickest, simplest
way to resolve or address an issue.
Connect with educators and administrators in both casual and formal settings. Talk with your child’s teacher on a regular basis. If possible, volunteer in the classroom and help out with school functions. If you have concerns or problems that a teacher can not or will not address, be willing to follow the chain of command through the school, and if necessary, to the district office. Remember that you as a parent have the right to request that the school evaluate your child if you think he or she may have a learning disability. Be sure that your request is in writing.
Parents should maintain an organized file of educational records and assessment information. Take notes during telephone and face-to-face meetings, and ask for people’s full names and contact information when communicating by phone or by email. In addition, keeping less formal examples of children’s academic progress, such as homework papers, artwork, and writings, may be useful in establishing patterns and documenting both abilities and challenges.
Read books and articles on learning, attend conferences, and join a parent support group or affiliate organization in your area. Get comfortable with education acronyms and jargon. Ask professionals lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if their answers are confusing or complicated.
You might not see it as your place to get involved in your child’s education. It might even feel like it’s overstepping. But it’s OK to speak up if you’re worried. It’s not disrespectful to share your concerns. Teachers want kids to do well. They know that families have a lot of information to share that can help.
Simply put, don’t sweat the small stuff. Knowing the specifics of law may be
important on one level, but constantly arguing technicalities can ultimately waste time and inhibit rapport. Try
not to take things personally, and always consider both sides of the story. Details are important, but don’t let
them get in the way of negotiating the best educational experience for your child.
Download the fact sheet for Parents can be Advocates Here