Do you remember when you did something for the “First time”, and how horrifying it was? It literally took your breath away to show courage and perform and then, suddenly it faded away mystifyingly, once your parents smiled at you.
This strength is real magic!
Advocating, as a parent is a serious business, being your child’s best education advocate—who knows their strengths and challenges, can help in identifying and pushing for the resources to succeed your child’s life successfully.
There is a lot we can do for our children in terms of advocacy. Here are some good rules to follow:
Communicate with your child
Numerous studies show that children perform well if they have warm, positive conversation with their parents. Parents who want to help their children tackle the challenges of school should be able to ask questions on a regular basis. “What do you like best about school?” is often a good icebreaker. Follow-up questions should include “What is easy to do each day?” and “What is the subject you wish you had only once a week instead of every day?”
Analyze that your child performs differently at home and at school
It’s critical to talk to your child’s teacher to find out how well she is implementing at school. Teacher-child relationships vary widely, so whenever you meet with the teacher, ask about your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Ask a question such as “Does my child have difficulties with following instructions or staying on task?” “Does she get along well with other kids?”
Maximize parent-teacher meeting
Many parents go to a parent-teacher meeting unprepared. Plan a list of questions that you want to ask at the beginning, not the end, of the meeting. By asking your questions up front, you’ll help to ensure that the meeting time is used to address your child’s challenges, set appropriate goals, and determine whether any special education services might be needed.
Don’t delay getting support for your child
If you have specific concerns about your child’s school performance, don’t wait until the parent-teacher meeting. Request immediately to provide a comprehensive evaluation of your child’s cognitive, academic, linguistic, social, and emotional functioning and inquire about special education services.
Being an effective advocate doesn’t require specialized abilities or extraordinary skills. It simply means making the concerns in a focused and informed way, and that something is important and needs to be done for your child.