Ask the Advocates. Got questions about negotiating with the school for special education services? This is a good place to start.
for Your Child - Getting Started. Good special education services are intensive
and expensive. Resources are limited. If you have a child with special needs,
you may wind up battling the school district for the services your child needs.
To prevail, you need information, skills, and tools.
Advocating Through Letter Writing (PDF). A booklet containing information and tips for parents on advocating for your child through letter writing. Other publications from Parent to Parent of New York State.
and Effective Parent Advocacy. This short article by advocate Marie Sherrett
describes joys and challenges of parent advocacy. What categories do you fall
Game Plan for New Parents. Introductory article; focuses on importance of planning and preparation.
Parents Leading the Way. Susan, a fierce advocate for students, has trained over 5000 parents, attorneys and advocates on virtually any topic that has to do with special education and civil rights law.
Parent Advocates: Decoding Dyslexia. Let's Take it Viral! Decoding Dyslexia, launched in 2011 by New Jersey parents, is an excellent and inspirational story about how a small group of parents banded together to change education in their home state and in other states..
Advocacy Rule #1: Write Things Down When They Happen. You can’t wait until the last minute to prepare documentation. Documenting events and conversations later is never as effective or accurate as writing things down, in detail, at the time they occur. Here are some tips for parents, teachers, and paraprofessionals.
Parent Advocacy at its Best. If you have the answers to these questions, you will also need an effective way to demonstrate the answers. A picture (or graph) can be worth a thousand words. You will find an effective way to get your message to the decision makers and change perception. Watch the video.
Fighting the Good Fight: How to Advocate for Your Students without Losing Your Job by Rick Lavoie. One of the greatest blessings of my professional life is the opportunity I have to talk with hundreds and hundreds of my Special Education colleagues. These conversations confirm my long-held belief that some of the finest people on the planet are toiling daily in America's classrooms…and particularly in our Special Education programs! LDonline (2008)
The Power of Parent Advocacy. If you don’t have it, get some advocacy power. Find out what other parents have done.
Advocacy Power - More Parents Leading the Way. Parents are paying it forward by providing advice and information to others, developing advocacy study groups, or training parents, service providers, and educators in special education advocacy. Meet special education advocate Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, her husband and Milagro.
Walk in the School's Shoes: Help Them WANT to Help Your Child. The most important ability to use in resolving problems with the school is to put yourself in the shoes of the people on the other side and answer these questions...
A Parent's Nasty Email: Cry for Help or Reality Check? We emphasize the importance of keeping your emotions under control and treating others politely, regardless how nasty someone may be acting. Learn the Rules of Adverse Assumptions and the Ms. Manners-Peter Colombo strategy.
Why "No" May Not Really Mean "No". Most parents seem to believe that “no” means “no” forever. They give up. Other parents view a “no” from the school in the same light as the denial of a health insurance claim. They don’t give up. They persevere.
10 Strategies to Fight Mandatory Retention & Other Damaging Policies by Sue Heath. Learn how you can find answers to questions in the law and strategies you can use to fight mandatory retention and other damaging policies.
Advice About the 10-Day Notice Letter to the School. Pete Wright answers questions about what should be included in a 10-day notice letter; includes links to "Letters to the Stranger" used in his cases.
Advocacy Training: Partners in Policymaking. Participants in Partners in Policymaking learn about the history of disability advocacy, political issues, and how to become effective, involved community activists in civil rights and disability matters. Learn more.
Effective Advocacy: Documents, Records and Paper Trails. Good records are essential to effective advocacy. Keep a record of your contacts with the school. Use low-tech tools: calendars, logs, journals. Keep a log of telephone calls and meetings, conversations, and correspondence between you and the school.
Advocating for a Child with Communication Problems. In our experience, many or most school people don’t know how to educate a child who can’t communicate. Some believe that if a child cannot communicate, the child is unable to think or learn.
to Disagree with the IEP Team. Pete answers questions about IEPs and
teaches you how to disagree with the IEP team without starting World War III.
Learn about the Rules of Adverse Assumptions, how to use tape recording and thank
you letters to clarify issues, and how to deal with an IEP team bully.
How Can an IEP Team Work Together if the Key Players Won't "Play"? Have you ever attended an IEP meeting that began well, but suddenly turned to complete chaos!
How to Start a FETA Study Group. Do you want to learn about effective advocacy? The best way to learn is to teach others. This article is about the nuts and bolts of starting a FETA group, how to get free publicity, how to manage emotions and stay on task.
the Word Out Advocacy Campaign. A simple strategy to help others, get the
word out about special education advocacy - and combat feelings of powerlessness.
Play Hearts, Not Poker. Jennifer Bollero, attorney and mother of a child with autism, describes important differences between advocacy and parenting, explains why you need to learn the rules and strategies . When you learn the rules, you reduce the risks when you negotiate for your child; this article includes "Eight Steps to Better IEP Meetings."
for a Due Process Hearing. Vermont advocate Brice Palmer says, "Your job is
to present your case in an organized manner that gives the decision maker enough
good factual information to reach a conclusion in your favor -- this is different
from advocating at IEP meetings or evaluation meetings."
the Special Ed Child: A Manual for the Attorney and Lay Advocate. Comprehensive
article by Pete Wright about representing the child with a disability, from analyzing
legal issues, legal principles, analyzing evidence, getting additional evidence,
through the due process hearing.
Tactics and Strategies: IEP Goals and Objectives - Pete answers questions from the president of a state LDA chapter. What can parents do to get good goals and objectives in a child's IEP? What can parents do when the school wants to use subjective "teacher observations," not objective testing, to measure the child's progress? How and when should parents use a consultant to help with IEP goals and objectives. How can parents avoid "methodology disputes?"
& Strategies: Power Struggles, Meetings, & Follow-Up Letters. Parent
advocate Pat Howey teaches you how to avoid power struggles, deal with IEP meeting
frustrations, use follow up letters to get answers to questions - and how to use
your power wisely.
Three Generations at the Supreme Court. Attorney Pete Wright (who has dyslexia and ADHD) represented Shannon Carter (who has dyslexia and ADHD) before the U. S. Supreme Court.
A New Generation of Advocates. The Wrightslaw Army at William & Mary Law School. Sarah Bellinger Receives Equal Justice Works Fellowship.
What You Should Know About Evaluations. Attorney Bob Crabtree explains, "As a parent, you must make sure that all areas of possible need are assessed as quickly as possible. While some parents would rather not allow their school system to evaluate their child, a refusal to cooperate at this stage of the process can backfire . . . " Read article
Why You Should Obtain a Comprehensive Evaluation from an Independent Evaluator - Benefits of a comprehensive evaluation, despite objections by school personnel.
Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy
If you are advocating for a child with a disability, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition by Pam and Pete Wright is an invaluable resource.
"If I were asked to choose just one book to help me learn advocacy skills, this is it!" - Support for Families of Children with Disabilities
For more articles, success stories, resources and publications about advocacy, visit FetaWeb.com
Legal Decisions About Advocacy by Parents
Collingsru v. Palmyra Bd. of Education, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Parent rights - Can a non-attorney parent represent his or her child in court? Why? Why not? (1998)
Erickson v. Bd. Ed. Baltimore County. U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Decision about attorneys fees for prevailing parent-attorneys.
To be an effective advocate, you need to learn about the child's disability, proven methods of teaching and learning, rights and responsibilities, and advocacy strategies. We spent many hours collecting information so you can spend your time learning, not searching.
Visit the Free Pubs section and download free publications about IEPs, behavior problems, discipline, autism, children's mental health, reading, special education, transition planning, harassment, high-stakes testing, retention, zero tolerance and more.
Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities
We built the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities so you can find information and support. The Yellow Pages include thousands of resources - parent support groups, evaluators, educational consultants, tutors, advocates, attorneys, and others who provide services to parents and children.
To learn about your child's disability and effective educational techniques, use the Directory of Disability Organizations and Information Groups.
To get your state special education regulations and other special education publications from your state, use our Directory of State Departments of Education.
For information and parent training in your state, use the Directory of Parent Training Information Centers.
additional resources, visit FetaWeb.com,
the companion site to Wrightslaw:
From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition.
You will find hundreds of articles, newsletters, Q's & As, and legal decisions in the Wrightslaw Advocacy Libraries and Law Libraries. For information about specific issues, from autism and ADD to zero tolerance, visit our Topics Page.Do You Have a Success Story?
We are collecting stories about successful advocacy. Do you have a success story that you would like to share? Read Success Stories on the Fetaweb site.