The Role of an Advocate in Your Child’s Education

An advocate is, “a person that defends or maintains a cause or proposal” (Merriam Webster’s Dictionary).  We, as parents, know what our developmentally different child needs most. The emotional connection between parent and child is an unbreakable bond. This bond allows us to nurture and raise our children.  These emotions are good and powerful but they can be a weakness.  When it comes to our kids, It is hard to separate emotion from logic.  Specifically, when we have to take on the role of educational advocate for our child with a school district. 

Hiring an advocate creates a powerful ally for you and your child.  It is a much more affordable and sustainable option for families than hiring a lawyer.  There may be times in your child’s educational journey where you need the advice/services of an advocate more than others.  They attend meetings with their clients when the client needs a powerful presence and they bring experience and knowledge to IEP meetings that match the members of your child’s IEP team.

An advocate can help you create a strategy to get your child’s needs met.  They can help you find resources outside the school district and help you bring those outside sources to the district.  They can help with your correspondence with the district and teach you how to keep track of it.  And, if it becomes necessary, help you escalate to a lawyer.

This can be a very long journey with twists and turns as your child grows and matures and their needs change. You need to have someone on your child’s team with experience and endurance to travel it with you. 

Your child’s education impacts the rest of their life.  You need to make this experience the best it can be.