At Wrightslaw, our mission is to help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to navigate the confusing, changing world of special education.
1. What Can One Person Do? Helping Parents and Children
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" - Martin Luther King
Loni Allen, an educational advocate from California, began a From Emotions to Advocacy group and has trained nearly 200 parents in two years. Jackie Igafo-Te'o and Deborah Canja from Michigan built a dynamic website that is improving the lives of parents and children in the U.S. and Canada.
Research editor Sue Heath describes a simple strategy to educate people in your community (and an excellent antidote to feelings of powerlessness). Indiana advocate Pat Howey explains how you can help other parents at IEP meetings (and overcome your own fears).
2. Start an Educational Advocacy Study Group
After reading Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, Loni Allen decided to start a From Emotions to Advocacy Study Group. Loni is an educational resource specialist at Parents Helping Parents, the Parent Training and Information Center in Santa Clara, California.
Since the first group met in 2004, more than 180 people have attended these Educational Advocacy sessions. As a result of this training, 20 experienced parents now act as "parent partners" for new or inexperienced parents at IEP meetings.
In How to Start an Educational Advocacy Group, Loni shares the secrets of organizing and facilitating a successful educational advocacy group, along with helpful suggestions and tips.
3. Build a Cool Website
Jackie Igafo-Te'o and Deborah Canja had first-hand knowledge about the struggles parents face. They decided to develop a comprehensive support system for ALL children called Bridges4Kids.
Bridges4Kids provides information about child development, education, and disability, gifted, at-risk, parenting, and teaching resources. Bridges4Kids helps parents whose kids are struggling to be accepted and parents whose children cannot read. They help parents who are looking for a summer camp and those who are searching for daycare.
Bridges4Kids also provides a toll-free help line with experienced information and referral specialists who connect callers with the help they need. Bridges4Kids offers help to children in the United States, Territories and Canadian provinces in HelpForAllKids.
4. Feel Powerless? Educate People in Your Community
Feeling powerless and frustrated after the last IEP meeting? You can alleviate many negative feelings if you act on Sue Heath's advice.
As Sue points out, "If you watched television this week, you qualify as a person who has a free hour. The next time you plan to watch television, go to your computer instead."
5. Attend an IEP Meeting with A Parent
If you feel anxious about attending your child's IEP meetings and want to get over that fear, Indiana advocate Pat Howey has a solution to your problem.
Ask other parents if they would like to have a friendly face at their IEP team meeting. Assure them that you don't know enough to go as an advocate, but you will be there to support them and reassure them.
To learn about other benefits of attending IEP meetings with parents as a friend, read Hone Your Advocacy Skills & Help Other Parents.
Read more articles by Pat Howey in Ask the Advocate.
6. Get Help from the New, Improved Yellow Pages for Kids
"Help! I am having problems with the school - I need an advocate!"
"Help! I need to get an evaluation of my child - where can I find a good evaluator?"
To answer your requests for help, we built Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities for every state and territory.
The Yellow Pages for your state includes listings for psychologists, educational diagnosticians, therapists, health care providers, academic tutors, special education schools, advocates, attorneys, support and study groups, and others who provide services to parents and children.
Yellow Pages for Kids User Guide
Get Listed on the Yellow Pages for Kids
Listings are Free!
7. Summer Schedule: Wrightslaw Programs in PA, DE, GA, TX, KY
Wrightslaw offers a variety of special education law and advocacy programs taught by experts in the field of special education law and advocacy.
The Summer 2006 schedule includes these programs:
June 7: Wilkes-Barre, PA - Special Education Advocacy Training with Pat Howey,;sponsored by Supporting Autism and Families Everywhere - SAFE.
June 14: Rehoboth Beach, DE - Special Ed Law & Advocacy Training with Pete and Pam Wright at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel; sponsored by The Arc of Delaware.
July 19: Atlanta, GA - Special Education Law & Advocacy Training at the National Fragile X Foundations 10th International Fragile X Conference. Speakers: Pete and Pam Wright
August 3: Austin, TX - Special Education Law & Advocacy Training sponsored by Texas Parent to Parent, Speakers: Wayne Steedman and Pat Howey
August 15: Philadelphia, PA - Special Education Law & Advocacy Training sponsored by the North Penn Special Education Council. Speakers: Pete and Pam Wright
7. Subscription & Contact Info
The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Newsletter subscribers also receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books. Subscribe