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I find that parents of children with special education needs come in several categories:
Which are you?
Parents are not assertive if they:
What do you do?
Does this describe you?
Advocacy helps you get services for all special education children in the least restrictive environment. Then you can participate, plan for educational programs, and get legislation passed.
Advocacy opens new doors so children may become part of the community. Advocacy knocks down barriers and prepares children for independence.
To meet others, you can
None of this is easy but the rewards can be fantastic!
Remember: Parents put together Public Law 94-142. Parents who vote urged Congress to pass the law that became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
You can make things better for the next generation without filing for due process. How?
You must learn the art of persuasion, advocacy-style!
There is both safety and strength in numbers.
If you can go over a hill and change a classroom, you can go over a mountain and change a state's respite care services, early infant and toddler program, inclusive educational situations and training manuals. There is no end to the positive changes one parent can achieve! Together, we are more powerful!
Now these things cannot occur overnight. But if a parent says to me, "What can I do? I'm only one person," I say, "You have no idea the power you have."
In five years, our Chapter made local and state changes. None of our parents felt alone.
You, too, can change the world for those with special education needs and disabilities.
Am I asking a lot? Yes, I am.
I am asking you to learn, read and network. You must take these steps for your children and the children who will come along behind your children.
Meet Marie Sherret
She is or has been a member of many advocacy-related organizations, including MD Education Coalition; Parent Information Network; Parents Place of MD; Parent-To-Parent Connection; Family Research Council; FIAT; ARI; Center For Autism Study; Society For Auditory Integration Training; Georgianna Foundation; Family Voices Coalition; CAN!; National Association For Year Round Education; Family Education Center of Southern MD; National Association of Child Advocates; NPND; CEC; MD Committee For Children and Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. She currently assists a P.G. County Chapter of MD Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc., and Independence Now, Inc. of P.G. County.
Marie makes presentations to local and national groups, high school and college students, teachers and school board members about autism, pervasive developmental disorder, Supplemental Security Income, child safety, school system and recreational budget issues as they relate to those with
Marie was a member of the parent panel about "Advocacy For Systems Change" at the Autism Society of America Conference in Atlanta, GA. She hosted foreign exchange students from the Republics of Abkhazia and Georgia and the Country of Japan through Youth For Understanding.
Marie speaks to local and national members of the media, giving radio, TV and newspaper interviews on child support, special education and working women matters, particularly with regard to issues of single parents of those with developmental delays.
Marie has been a legal secretary since 1972. She is the parent of Mark P. Sherrett, who had autism, and Daniel V. Sherrett who joined the Navy in the Fall of 2001.
Marie A. Sherrett
Last Revised: 06/23/08