When you’re overwhelmed at your child’s school, adding an education advocate to your team can help your family. It’s not just IEPs and special education either.
No matter where you are hitting a roadblock, an education advocate could be the answer to your problems.
6 Ways an Education Advocate Can Help Your Family Succeed at School
IEPs can be contentious. Parents can be caught between doing what they know is right and what the school is able to offer. Bringing an education advocate onto your team can help cut through the red tape.
Education advocates are often licensed teachers, education professionals, or parents who have worked the system for their own children. They understand the laws, even though they are unable to give legal advice.
An education advocate will be able to read your child’s test results and look at their current IEP, offering analysis and recommendations. They can present your case and your suggestions to the school’s education team in a way that is more likely to get you to “yes.”
An advocate can help you understand and walk down the whole special education path, from referral to initial IEP to solving problems. It pays to have an advocate on your team, especially when things get heated.
504 Plans are technically not special education. Instead, these are general education plans of accommodations that happen in the classroom.
Sometimes schools are reluctant to write 504 Plans because it makes more work for teachers. Or they write 504 Plans that are essentially just pieces of paper: never followed or enforced. Some plans might have too many accommodations, others have too few.
Bringing an education advocate onto your team can help your child get exactly what they need at school. Your advocate will be able to suggest realistic accommodations. When the Plan isn’t being followed, they can work with the school to fix the problems.
It can seem like you and the school are talking right past each other. This makes tough situations, like special or gifted education concerns, extra challenging.
An education advocate can help you create a solid communication plan and message. Your advocate will lay out exactly what to say, how to say it, and why it needs to be said. They might even totally take over your emails and meetings. That’s what I do!
Bringing an advocate on board to handle or manage communication ensures a uniform message and can prevent conflicts down the road. Your advocate will be able to strike just the right tone and explain what you want clearly.
From report cards to standardized test, or even special education assessments, your advocate should have a good handle on what it all means. It’s too easy to get lost in the alphabet soup and all those numbers!
When you’re confused, ask an education advocate to help you decipher what everything means. They should be able to explain the scores and written reports for you. Then, your advocate will be able to connect it to your child’s educational needs an IEP.
While you might not need any extra support at the meeting, you could want some help beforehand while you plan. An education advocate will be able to help you look at everything objectively and come up with a solid strategy.
When you work with me, you’ll walk away with a meeting script and a better understanding of your realistic options.
Your advocate will also be able to organize your documents and make sense of everything so that you can walk into your next meeting feeling empowered and confident.
You’ve heavily invested in this process, no matter what your child needs in school. This is about your baby after all. Getting tough news or having to build new dreams is tough. Sometimes you just need to talk it out with someone who understands.
An education advocate is impartial and solution-based. That makes them the perfect person to chat with about your concerns. Not only with they be able to listen without judgment, but an advocate can also offer solutions that can make a bad situation better.
Have you worked with an education advocate? Share your experience in the comments!
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