These problems generally occur because educators lack knowledge. Parents look to teachers and principals to be experts. Not knowing what to do when a school declines to evaluate a child is a common dilemma for parents of children who are struggling. Advocacy groups may help, but a parent would need to understand that external help is available before they would seek it out.
It would be helpful if school staff referred parents to the appropriate state advocacy organization listed by the Center for Parent Information and Resources. This would steer parents toward a group that could help them to find answers. In Kansas, our parent group, Families Together, answers questions, holds informational and training sessions for parents and education advocates, and shares documents to inform parents.
No one in the school environment let my family know that this group existed, and it took us several years to find it. During that time, we felt isolated and confused. If only a teacher, principal, or district staff member had shared this information. Hopefully a parent can initiate an assessment and evaluation.
My personal experience has been that at no time were the evaluation process or special terms like IDEA, IEP, or explained to me, and I have yet to encounter a parent for whom this did occur. Even a district FAQ website would be helpful.
Advocacy in Special Education Support and Information Workshop : Parents Helping Parents
Some educators and schools are amazing. Get the best of Edutopia in your inbox each week. A Gap in Experience and Understanding This opens up a rift in experience, understanding, and communication between parents and educators. Directing Parents to Organizations That Can Help It would be helpful if school staff referred parents to the appropriate state advocacy organization listed by the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
Our professional staff is here for you, always free of charge. You might call us when you have a disability-related, early intervention, special education, or transition question.
We can help you:. We mainly help parents by providing information on the phone, via email, through our website and now on social media. You have a question, we try to answer it. We may refer you to other helpful organizations in your community or offer practical advice.
What Advocates in Special Education Can Do for You
We employ well-trained and knowledgeable staff, all parents of children with disabilities. We answer the phone prepared to hear your concerns and issues. Even though we do not have offices throughout the state of Louisiana — we provide support to parents statewide. In addition, we work with the Families Helping Families network to support their staff in supporting parents in their individual regions.
Part of LaPTIC grant is to provide support to youth and young adults with disabilities ages 16 to 26 to be effective self-advocates. We do this by providing training opportunities and peer to peer support through our youth information and training specialist.
In addition, our staff serves on different local and state level advisory councils, boards, or workgroups that are designed to improve results for students with disabilities and enhance home-school-community partnerships. As you know, dealing with many issues at one time can be overwhelming. An experienced staff member of LaPTIC can help you sort through the issues and put them in perspective.
Together, we can brainstorm strategies and possible solutions. What questions need to be asked? Of whom?
What information or training would be helpful? What does the law say?
LaPTIC can help you address your unique concerns, and expand and build upon your knowledge and strengths. Our goal is to give you the knowledge, skills, and tools you need to be the best advocate you can be for your child. With our limited resources we are unable to go to most school meetings.
Our role is to give you the skills and confidence to negotiate for your child on your own or with the support of a natural support. This helps you get your child the services needed to reach his or her full potential. You can always request we attend with you, but can never guarantee this support. LaPTIC staff does not make referrals or recommendations of any professionals.
We do have lists of people that do specific things — but in no way is this list considered recommendations or referrals. We recommend all parents to do their own research, ask in their own family and social network and collect enough information to make informed decisions. Sure, IDEA is a federal law that applies in all states.
Even though most states have their own bulletins or regulations they use to implement IDEA — if your child qualified for special education services in one state, the chance is he will qualify in Louisiana too.
We will probably share a lot of information with you and may talk a bit about the law. Both federal and state regulations have requirements for schools when a child moves into the state with an IEP from another state. We will want to make sure you understand what those requirements are. We will then direct you to the right school office.
There are several ways we can help you. First, we may invite you to one of our workshops on the special education law, IDEA. This information will help you work with the school system.