If you have a child with disabilities, you already feel the stress of having to take care of the health, educational and emotional needs of your kid. This doesn’t even include having to cope with a drastically lowered income because of reduced work hours or having to pay someone else for childcare.
So, how can you get some help?
Look into getting an advocate. An advocate is a person who supports another person. This professional 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.
How can an advocate help?
They Can Explain Everything
In order to effectively advocate for your child you must know the wording and terminology. They may 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.
They Can Ensure 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.
They Can Help You Voice Concerns
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.
At American Advocacy Group, we know the system and the laws that provide the guidelines and safeguards to protect the rights that secure excellence for children with disabilities. We have the expertise to apply these to make sure your child's financial and educational needs are met.
If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.
American Advocacy Group is on the front lines every day, making positive change happen for people diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome and a range of diagnoses across the continuum. As a leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and the premier provider of the support and services people want and need, we understand the system and know how to take action in regard to your best interests.
CONTACT US FOR HELP.
Dial (877) 762-0702 or email us at [email protected]