Find a Advocacy Group
Find a support group or advocacy group in your area. Don't worry about what type of disability they specialize in. Parenting is parenting. You will find things in common with whatever group you attend. Look in the Disability Organizations directory for your state on the Yellow Pages for Kids. You can find out what groups may be in your area.
First: This will put you in touch with people who will be able to give you names of advocates in your area who may be able to help you at IEP meetings.
Second: It will put you in touch with a group of parents who want to improve the system.
Each one of these people will have a network of other people they can send information to. They in turn can send information to you.
Tip: Sit quietly at the first few meetings so you don't scare them off with plans to inform the world with flyers. Trust me, I speak from personal experience.
Develop a Contact List
Try to develop an e-mail list of contacts so you can share information and resources without cost.
Begin to educate others by distributing flyers. Here's how.
You can also spread information about training sessions and conferences in your area.
Here are some good ways to do this:
You can find the contact information for all the newspapers in your area at the CHADD Media Guide. Just enter your zip code. You will also find a guide for elected officials in your area and might decide to send them information as well.
Working to Change the System
You are probably most concerned with the aspects of civil rights and education that affect your own family, but when you are working to change the system, work in all areas. There are 7 million parents of children with disabilities. It does not matter which million you inform first.
Save Your Data and Protect the Privacy of Your List
Keep Your contact list in Excel or even in Word.
Just have a place where you can collect names and e-mail addresses so you can cut and paste into the blind copy (BCC) section of an e-mail when you have something to send.
Tip: Use the blind copy (BCC) address line of your e-mail to protect the privacy of the people you write to. Many may not want others to see their e-mail address.
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