6 Tips for Becoming a Better Advocate for Your Child

While a school’s purpose is to help educate your child, it’s important to remember that a single school is dealing with hundreds of students each day. That is why it is so important for parents to be their child’s best advocate in the school system. 

Whether your child has a learning disability or has experienced childhood trauma, advocating for your child in the school system will help ensure that your child is given the accommodations and treatment needed for them to do their best each and every day at school!

Here are some tips to help you be a better advocate for your child in the school system.

1 | Know What it Means to Be an Advocate

You might not feel confident in being an advocate for your child, as if you don’t know everything you need to in order to advocate. However, advocating is simply speaking up about your concerns and speaking up in a way that is comfortable for you. You don’t have to be loud or do it in front of others. It can be done quietly, with a single person, such as your child’s teacher. 

2 | Get to Know the Decision Makers

Connect with and get to know those who are making decisions about your child’s education. On a daily basis, this is your child’s teacher. But decision makers are also administrators at the school. Make sure to connect with these people on a regular basis. If possible, consider volunteering in the classroom or assisting with school functions. 

If you have concerns or issues that a particular teacher won’t address, be willing to go up the chain of command. This could be a department head, an administrator, or even the district administration if necessary. 

If you believe that your child has a disability, remember that you have the right to request that they be evaluated for one. Make sure this request is in writing. 

3 | Gather Records and Information

Keep records and gather information. Take notes during meetings to keep a record of your interactions. Also gather information on your child’s disability or needs by reading books and articles or joining support groups. Get comfortable with education acronyms and jargon and don’t be afraid to ask questions when something is confusing or complicated to learn more. 

4 | Know When to Speak Up

When is the right time to speak up? Anytime! Remember, it’s okay to speak up anytime you have a concern. The earlier you advocate for your child on a specific issue, the faster it will get addressed, and the better off your child will be at school. 

5 | Ask Questions

Ask as many questions as you need to of the decision makers. A good start is by asking about what is going on in school, such as what they are learning and if your child is learning as easily as other students. 

If you are worried about specific things, ask about them. If you are afraid they aren’t receiving the help they need, be sure you ask what your child’s teacher is doing to address those issues. 

6 | Emphasize Solutions

Finally, always emphasize solutions. If you’ve done your own homework, you can come to your child’s teacher or administrators with solutions and information in hand. Being prepared with solution options that could work for your child can help solutions be reached faster, whether it is assistance with test taking or ways to help regulate your child.

Final Thoughts

Remember, no one knows your child as well as you do, and that always makes you their best advocate! Schools work with hundreds of students each day and every student has their own unique needs. By advocating for your child and emphasizing solutions for concerns or issues, you’ll be able to help improve your child’s school experience in a more positive way.