Parent as Advocate

Rick Lavoie has worked with kids with reading problems for more than 30 years. His advice to parents is to toughen up and recognize that your child needs you.

"Parents sometimes worry that they're overreacting when their child isn't reading in first or second grade," says Lavoie. "It's really not possible to overreact to that. The reality is you need to stand up for your child. He's not old enough or capable at this point to advocate for himself. It's uncomfortable sometimes, but you've got a right to ask questions. You've got a right to receive answers."

If you have concerns about your child's progress or school experience, speak up! You know your child better than anyone else. Here are some simple things you can do to be involved.

Develop a close working relationship with your child's teachers and principal. Stay in touch between report card periods.

Save important test results. Keep class work samples, homework examples, and other school communications that show how your child usually performs.

Ask for help! If you suspect a problem, talk with your child's teacher. If you still have concerns, talk with the principal, reading specialist, or special education teacher. You have the right to ask questions and to receive answers to the questions you ask. Also, do not hesitate to seek advice outside of the school system.


Featured Video: Parent as Advocate

Top Articles

Teachers: How do you convince your principal, fellow teachers, and other school staff to help the student in your class who has a learning disability? Rick Lavoie, world-renowned expert, speaker, and author on teaching children with LD, tells you how to get your voice heard. Learn how to handle common road blocks and become a proactive and successful advocate in the hallways, the teacher's lounge, and the administrative suite.

Our top 10 back-to-school tips for special education teachers emphasize communication, organization, and a focus on student success.

The IEP guides the delivery of special education and related services and supplementary aids and supports for the child with a disability. Without a doubt, writing and implementing an effective IEP requires teamwork. So, who's on the team?

Especially for Parents

When an advocate negotiates with the school on a special needs child's behalf, the odds are increased that the child will get an appropriate education. Learn who can advocate, what they do, and how you can get started advocating for your child.
Many of the adults in your child's life are unfamiliar with learning disorders in general, or your child's unique pattern of strengths and limitations. Developing a one- to three-page dossier that provides useful information about your child can help their babysitters, coaches, teachers, bus drivers, school support staff, neighbors, and relatives understand their limitations.
Parents are often the best educational advocates for their children, especially children with a learning disability. The Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities (CCLD) has developed the following tips to help parents champion their child.
The U.S. Education Department provides these tips for parents about how to be involved in your child's school, and what to do if problems arise.
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