Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Top 10 in a Good Advocate for YOU

Remember: Parent Advocates are not trained lawyers and there is no authority of certification in parent advocacy, but a good advocate has been through professional training and knows the law. A good advocate will also help you to recognize when  you may need a lawyer.

A Good Advocate's Top 10:

1.  Has solid experience and training in advocacy; knows the law.

2.  Expert in Special Education.

3.  Takes the time to get to know your child as an individual.
  •  Too many times advocates never even meet the child they are working for = Red Flag
4.  Professionalism
  • has a written contract
  • arranges to review relevant paperwork
  • arranges to meet you in person
  • discusses fees up front
  • confidentiality
  • invites you to contact references
5.  Understands the nature of your child's specific disability.
  • Ask for references before hiring your advocate. The best advocate for a child with autism is usually not a good advocate for a child who is legally blind.
6.   Empowers, informs and educates you to help strengthen your own advocacy skills.

7.  Discusses your child's strengths and weaknesses not only at school, but at home and in the     community, as well. 
  • It is crucial for your advocate to get a solid understanding of your child from a developmental and global perspective.
8.  Willing to contact collateral's and work together as a team.
  • Your advocate should not be angry and hostile toward the school. Advocacy works best when everyone works together.
9.  Must love paper trails!

10.  Should be available to attend school meetings with you.

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