Home > Ask the Advocate > Strategies When the School Ignores Your Requests for Help

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

Enter your email address below:

Training Programs

June 5-8 - San Antonio, TX

Aug. 22 - TRT-CLE

Sept. 24 - MD via ZOOM

Full Schedule


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

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Cool Tools
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
Newsletter Archives
Short Course Series
Success Stories

Law Library

Fed Court Complaints
IDEA 2004
McKinney-Vento Homeless
Section 504


American Indian
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
College/Continuing Ed
Due Process
Early Intervention
  (Part C)

Episodic, such as
   Allergies, Asthma,
   Diabetes, Epilepsy, etc

Future Planning
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE / Inclusion
Military / DOD
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Related Services
Research Based

Response to Intervention

Restraints / Seclusion
   and Abuse

School Report Cards
Section 504
Teachers & Principals
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

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


Print this page

When the School Ignores Your Requests for Help
by Pat Howey

"I have asked and asked the school to give my child extra help. The school never does anything."

First, if you did not ask for help in writing, you have no proof that you ever asked for help.

You need to learn how to make requests of the school in writing (read Chapters 22, 23 and 24 about letter writing and paper trails in From Emotions to Advocacy.)

The Parent Report

I recommend that parents always prepare for IEP meetings by writing a report to give to the IEP team members.

First, write a list of your child’s strengths. Here are some examples:


* Johnny is competitive
* Johnny loves to play basketball
* Being allowed to play basketball makes Johnny want to do better in school
* Johnny gets up every morning to practice basketball.

Next, make a list of things that are difficult for your child. Here are some examples:


* Johnny struggles in reading, science, and math
* Johnny and I work up to 3 hours a night on reading, science and math homework
* Johnny receives tutoring which we pay for in reading, science and math
* Johnny often gets D’s and F’s in reading, science and math
* Johnny is not allowed to be on the school’s sports teams because of his poor grades.

Next, make a list of what your child needs from the school. Look at your lists of strengths and challenges. Make your list of needs fit the strengths and challenges. Here are some examples:


* Johnny needs special help in reading, science and English
* Johnny needs to have his grades take into consideration his effort
* Johnny needs to be allowed to play on school sports teams so he will be motivated to do well in school -- and not drop out

Write only what is most important. Your goal is to get the IEP team to focus on the important areas. You can also write goals in your report.

Make enough copies of your report so everyone who attends the IEP meeting has a copy. After you think you've made enough copies, make a few more. You want to be sure you have enough copies of your report to go around.

Read the tips about how to prepare for meetings, how to use a Parent Agenda and an IEP Meeting Worksheet in From Emotions to Advocacy (Chapters 25 and 26).

Read more Ask the Advocate articles by Pat Howey.

Meet Pat Howey

Pat HoweyPatricia Howey has supported families of children with disabilities since 1985. She has a specific learning disability and became involved in special education when her youngest child entered kindergarten. Pat has children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who have a variety of disabilities and she has used her experience to advocate for better special education services for several of them.

Pat is a charter member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), serving on its Board of Directors from 2000 through 2003. She has been a Commissioner on the Tippecanoe (County) Human Relations Committee, a graduate of Leadership Lafayette and Partners in Policymaking, and a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau. She has been on the faculty of the College of William and Mary Law School’s Institute of Special Education Advocacy since its inception in 2011.

Pat has an A.S. and a B.A. in Paralegal Studies from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is an Indiana Registered Paralegal and an affiliate member of the Indiana Bar and the American Bar Associations.

Pat began her advocacy career as a volunteer for the Task Force on Education for the Handicapped (now InSource), Indiana’s Parent Training and Information Center. In 1990, she opened her advocacy practice and served families throughout Indiana by representing them at IEP meetings, mediation, and due process hearings.

In 2017, Pat closed her advocacy practice and began working on a contract basis as a special education paralegal. Attorneys in Indiana, Texas, and California contracted with her to review documents, spot issues, draft due process complaints, prepare for hearings, and assist at hearings. In January 2019, she became an employee of the Connell Michael Kerr law firm, owned by Erin Connell, Catherine Michael, and Sonja Kerr. Her duties have now expanded to assisting with federal court cases.

"Changing the World -- One Child at at Time.

Contact Information

Patricia L. Howey, B.A., IRP
POB 117
West Point, Indiana 47992-0117
E-mail: specialedconsulting@gmail.com
Webpage: https://cmklawfirm.com/

Revised: 07/15/19

Back to Top

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