Wrightslaw l No Child Left Behind l IDEA 2004 l Fetaweb l Yellow Pages for Kids l Harbor House Law Press

Home > Parent Advocacy >Learn to Ask Questions, Get Services


The Special Ed Advocate
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:

 

2014 - 2015 Training Programs

Nov. 1 - Grand Rapids, MI

Nov 6 - McAllen, TX

Nov 18 - DesMoines, IA

Nov 21 - Temecula, CA

Dec 4 - OKC, OK

Full Schedule

Be a Hero ...

 Jason at Ft. Benning
... to a Hero
Learn more

Wrightslaw

Home
Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Consultations
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room
FAQs
Sitemap

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Books & DVDs
Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Bulk Discounts
New! Military Discounts
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Articles
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
FAQs
Newsletter Archives
Summer School Series
Success Stories
Tips

Law Library

Articles
Caselaw
IDEA 2004
No Child Left Behind
McKinney-Vento Homeless
FERPA
Section 504
Fed Court Complaints

Topics

Advocacy
ADD/ADHD
Allergy/Anaphylaxis
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
Bullying
College/Continuing Ed
Damages
Discrimination
Due Process
Early Intervention (Part C)
Eligibility
ESY
Evaluations
FAPE
Flyers
Future Planning
Harassment
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
IEPs
ISEA
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE/Inclusion
Mediation
Military / DOD
No Child Left Behind
NCLB Directories
NCLB Law & Regs
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Reading
Related Services
Research Based Instruction
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Restraints/Abuse
Retention
Retaliation
School Report Cards
Section 504
Self-Advocacy
Teachers & Principals
Transition
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
Directories
  Disability Groups
  International
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
Glossaries
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites

 

Learn to Ask Questions, Get Services
By Laurie from New York

Print this page

two women talkingWhen I began to advocate for my daughter, I felt insecure when I requested services or supports for her.

Because I felt insecure, I supported my requests with lots of documentation --articles, reports and recommendations from experts, test results, and information about specialized equipment. I was calm, polite, and in control.

I was surprised to find that the "powers that be" would not provide the services and supports that I requested for my daugher.

How Do They Perceive Me?

Why was I having this problem? What could I do?

It seemed that when I made a request, the educational experts viewed me as a “Know it All Parent” who thought she knew more about my child's needs than they did. I realized that they felt threatened.

Now when I go to an IEP meeting, I have a mental list of the accommodations my child needs. What took me so long to do – to ask for what my child needs –I NEVER do! Now I ask questions so the educators come up with the desired solution, NOT me.

Strategies: Asking Questions to Identify Solutions

My child Susie has a hearing loss. I want Susie to sit near the teacher OR have a speakerphone in the classroom. I won't ask that Susie sit near the teacher or have a speakerphone.

Instead, I will say, "Gee, Susie really loves her teacher, Mrs. Smith. It’s sad that Susie can't hear much that Mrs. Smith says. You know Susie has a hearing loss? (submit medical report) Susie really wants to do well on the new state tests. I wonder what we can do . . .

At this point, someone is likely to say, "Let's have her sit by the teacher" or "Let's get a speakerphone for her."

I say, "That's a wonderful idea. I'm so glad you thought of it."

Strategies: Saying "Thank You"

I thank the team members for letting Susie sit near Mrs. Smith, the teacher she likes so much. I know this sounds crazy but I found it works most of the time. Educators/experts are happy when THEY come up with the way to meet the child’s needs! Sometimes, they have ideas that I had not considered either!

I decided it doesn’t matter who comes up with the solution as long as my child's needs are met!

Last year, we moved to a new school district in a different part of the state. We had a "clean slate." I had a chance to try out my techniques with a new group of educators. I gave them my child’s IEP and told them about the equipment our former school used (the former school was willing to sell the stuff to them).

I could tell them everything they needed to know about my daughter but until they met her and got to know her for themselves, I was just another "yappy" parent.

I learned another lesson: our children often win over people on their own!

IEP Day: My Child Has Many Advocates

young girl's faceWhen IEP day came, more people were advocating for my daughter than I could imagine. I sat there feeling stunned, not saying much.

I heard, "We need to base her services on what she needs, NOT the availability of a TVI (Teacher of the Visually Impaired)" and "We need to have some training in this area" and "We must order these Braille books immediately."

They had already purchased the equipment from the old school – it was sitting on the table!

When I meet or talk with school staff, I explain that my daughter needs access to the general curriculum. She must have instructional materials in Braille, services from a teacher of the visually impaired, and orientation and mobility instruction.

I also explain that she wants to be like other kids. I do not expect the school to cartwheels just for her! When they realized that I do not want to break their budget or create unnecessary extra work for them, they’ve been great. I can honestly say that I don't feel that I'm an at odds with them! (But I still don’t let down my guard.)

I look at it this way: If an educator came into my home and told me how to decorate the rooms and what color to paint my walls, I would not be very happy!

I can’t say that everything has been smooth sailing – we have had some glitches and are getting some things in place for next year. I think this is the case whenever people with different interests work together for a common goal.

Parents need to figure out how to get the educators to come up with what our children need. My strategies are one approach. I'll bet other parents have ideas too!

It's sort of silly when you think about it -- like a game!

From Wrightslaw

You're right, it's like a game. And you hit a home run!

If a parent asks for a specific service or support, this generally ensures that the school will not provide that service or support.

After you struck out, you spent time thinking about the meetings. You thought about how you were perceived by school people (a Know-it-All or "yappy parent). You understood that if you took over the role of "Expert," you would leave no role for the educators.

If school people feel threatened or disrespected by you, they will look for a way to shoot you down. This is human nature - it is not specific to special education.

Many parents do not understand these issues. Since many parents feel insecure in their dealings with school people, it's hard for them to put their egos on the back burner.

In our new book, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, we describe these issues and provide strategies to deal with them.

 

Do You Have a Success Story?

woman doing handspringDo you have a success story or advocacy strategy that you want to share?

We are collecting stories about successful advocacy from parents and other advocates.

We will post some of these stories on Wrightslaw and some on a new parent advocacy site.

If you are interested in submitting a success story or strategy, please send an email to: success | at | wrightslaw.com

In the Subject line of your email, type SUCCESS STORY in all caps.

You will receive an autoresponder email that contains details about our submissions policy.

Please do not send an article until after you read and review the Submissions Policy.

To Top
Last updated: 09/15/08



Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!

 

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

 

Copyright 1998-2014, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved.

Contact Us | Press Mission l Our Awards l Privacy Policy l Disclaimer l Site Map

What's New!

Now Shipping!

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Check it out!

Wrightslaw Store

The Advocate's Store

Get Help!

Blog the Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw on Facebook

Find us on Facebook

Wrightslaw Books

Student Discounts

Military Discounts


Wrightslaw: All About IEPs

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book
To Order


About the Book

To Order


Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

About the DVD Video
To Order


To Order


Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw Multimedia Training


Understanding Your Child's
Test Scores (1.5 hrs)

Understanding Your Child's Test Scores

Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $
24.95
Wrightslaw Special: $14.95

Special Education Law & Advocacy Training
(6.5 hrs)


Wrightslaw WebEx Special Education Law & Training Program (6.5 hrs)


Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $99.95
Wrightslaw Special: $49.95