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.
By: Joaquín Tamayo (2012)
By: U.S. Department of Education (2008)
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.
By: Rick Lavoie (2007)
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. This article describes key elements of such a document and provides a sample.
By: Lisamarie Sanders (2006)
Tutoring offers kids the special one-on-one attention that busy teachers often can't provide. From simple homework help to intensive work on basic skills, tutoring can offer just the boost your child needs to succeed.
By: Reading Rockets (2004)
What should you do if you think your child is having trouble with reading? Sometimes children just need more time, but sometimes they need extra help. Trust your instincts! You know your child best. If you think there's a problem, there probably is.
By: Martha Randolph Carr (2004)
This is a cautionary tale, not just for people who have no real idea of what a learning disability is and probably suspect the whole thing is an overindulgent scam, but also for any parent of a child struggling mightily through school.
By: Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities (2000)
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.