Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Become Your Child's Best Advocate

7 Steps To Being Your Child's Best Advocate:

1.Positive Parent/Teacher Relationships
Positive interactions between parents/teacher is best for your child. Both parties need to ensure the child comes first and that the goals for the child are key and shared. Share your views, offer advice and become a good working team. Make shared decisions about the child's goals. Touch base often, share concerns in a friendly manner always anticipating outcomes. Learn how to have effective conferences.

2. Be Well Informed About Your Child's Needs
Learn as much as you possibly can about your child's needs. Find out what the best practices are and how your child's needs are best met in the school setting. Ask good questions! Find out who the organizations and professionals are regarding the needs of your child and learn as much as you can. Learn about the issues and controversies and be practical. Sometimes our expectations can be high but they also need to be practical and manageable.

3. Be a Note Taker
Keep good records. Keep a running diary/journal of all correspondence you have with the school staff, organizations, support services, phone calls etc. A record of all verbal and written dialogue will help you to become an expert on your child's program and needs. It will provide you with review type information and can be used to persuade school staff to follow through with verbal commitments and take you seriously because you are on top of things!!!

4. Know What Records the School Is Keeping
Always ask for copies of records or information that is kept in the student's file at school. Make sure you have all letters, documentation, program plans, conference notes and anything else pertinent to your child's education. Make this a part of your record keeping.

5. Ask Questions
Be candid, if you don't understand terms being used, ask for clarification. Make sure you completely understand the process, procedures, planning and interventions being discussed on behalf of your child. Getting the answers to the questions you may have will avoid any sense of frustration.

6. Include Your Child
The whole process is about your child. Talk to your child, your child's point of view is very important, he/she should not be left out of the loop. His or her feelings are extremely important.

7. Remain Positive and Think Positive
Sometimes this is the most difficult step. How do you get positive outcomes? Certainly, it isn't by becoming aggressive. Build a productive working team by remaining positive, it's your best method to getting those positive outcomes. You can be assertive but know the difference between aggression and assertion. It will help to build a two way trusting relationship. Remember: anger, hostility, aggression and frustration will not be productive in ensuring the best program is in place for your child. 2-way trusting relationships will maximize your child's benefits.