Key Ways Parents Can Advocate on Behalf of Their Children With Special Needs
School Liaisons can support parents in the vital role that they play in the process of securing appropriate services for their children by informing them of ways to make sure that schools and other agencies are meeting their children’s needs. School Liaisons can inform parents that they should do the following:
- Organize and keep track of all the paperwork throughout the evaluation process. There are many steps to the process, including initial meetings, doctor visits, etc. The DoD Parent’s Toolkit and DoDEA Parent Handbook are resources to help parents to understand the process.
- Learn about assistive technology and ask for devices that might aid their child. School Liaisons can find local and online resources to support the information needs of families.
- Be aware of their rights and those of their family. School Liaisons can provide information, suggest ways to ensure uninterrupted services, and remind parents and guardians of the laws that apply to serving the needs of children with special needs.
- Keep in close, open, and positive communication with school staff. It is important for parents to work in partnership with school officials. School Liaisons can also be helpful in keeping lines of communication strong and offering support where possible.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions… and keep asking. School Liaisons can encourage parents to continue to be good advocates by helping them to get the knowledge they need.
- Be an active participant in all stages of early intervention. School Liaisons who develop ongoing relationships with parents can help support the process as it progresses from evaluation to indicated services.
- Connect to military resources, community services, and parent groups designed to support the families of children with special needs. School Liaisons can assist by keeping a list of military resources, local organizations, and/or parent groups to provide families, as needed.
- Contact the state’s Protection and Advocacy Agency if discrimination is suspected.