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As a parent, you are your child’s best education advocate

Tips for Advocating

Until your child is old enough to speak for himself or herself, you are the voice that speaks for your child. You know his or her strength; you know what they do well, and you know the challenges that they may face. When you know the details, you will begin to learn how to advocate for the resources that your child may need. But first, there are a few steps that you may need to review to advocate for your child effectively. Here are a few tips to get you started.


1. Get Information

Read more about how your child learns and thinks. To do this, you can watch videos or attend workshops so that you can become familiar with your child’s specific challenges and needs. An excellent place to start is at SCPS Parent Resource Center. They have a lot of resources that you can check out to learn more about your child. Find out what your child’s strengths are, too, so that you will know what learning environment best supports his or her educational needs. 


2. Make Connections

It is important to get to know your child’s teacher(s) or anyone who is working with your child. Keeping an open line of communication is important so that there is less chance of misunderstanding or confusion when issues do arise.


3. Ask Questions

To understand your child’s program and before you consent to services, you need to ask questions. Do not be afraid to ask questions, ask for clarification, request a further evaluation, or express disagreement with a recommendation. It may be a good idea to get any requests in writing and keep good notes. Remember who you spoke to because sometimes our memory is not great when we try to remember what was said halfway through the school year.


4. Stay Respectful

Remember that your child is there to learn and that the teachers and the other members of the school are there to help them. If you disagree with something, remember to stay respectful and state your reasons for opposing. Remember that you are part of the team, and it is important to keep this in mind as you advocate on your child’s behalf.