Q:

How do you advocate for special needs children?

A:

According to public school administrator Robin McClure for About.com, advocating for special needs children involves understanding a child's disability intimately, looking for solutions rather than focusing on problems and establishing good relationships with the other adults involved in the child's care. Anyone wanting to serve as an advocate for a child must also be fully aware of the child's rights regarding special education and other services.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities points out that parents have the right to request an assessment of a child's abilities at no cost, the right to be part of the evaluation team and the right to receive copies of all evaluation reports. A parent who wants to advocate for a special needs child must also become very familiar with state and federal disability laws.

Care.com points out the need for a parent to become very familiar with a special needs child's disabilities. This process may involve observing and taking notes of the child's response to any interventions. According to McClure, parents who strive to work with other caregivers and teachers are more likely to get positive results in determining the right care for their special needs children. Most teachers and child care providers of special needs children have a deep desire to help these children but may have limited resources to do so. By establishing a teamwork relationship with the other adults involved in the child's care, parents are more likely to get the results they want from their advocacy.


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