At one time or another, most parents may have to “stand up” for what their child needs. You don’t need special training to be effective. But you do need to keep some important things in mind:
1. Keep your child’s interests first. As a parent, you know how your child learns best. On the other hand, parents sometimes have expectations for their kids that their kids can’t meet.
2. Take a long-term view. If a year or two in a special program will give your child skills she needs to be successful, it’s a good investment of time.
3. Get as much information as you can. As a parent, you are a great source of information about your child. You know the most about your child’s personality, special needs and special skills. But schools also have information you may need. Test results and teacher comments help you learn more about how your child performs in school.
4. Be assertive, not aggressive. Whenever possible, try to work with your child’s school. You don’t need to be unpleasant.
5. The best advocates work with others. Don’t make the school your enemy. By working with your child’s teachers, you can come up with a program that will meet your child’s needs.
6. Know your legal rights. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) sets out specific rights of parents and students with disabilities.
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