Summer School Short Course
Using Story-Telling Letters to Persuade

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In This Issue ...

Circulation: 85, 723
ISSN: 1538-320
August 23, 2011

Parents must write letters to document their dealings with the school. When you write letters, assume that your letter will be read by a Stranger. Assume that you dropped your letter in the street. A Stranger finds your letter and reads it.

After reading your letter, "The Stranger" understands the facts of your case, the issues, knows what you want, why you want what you want, and knows how to give you what you want.

We call this technique "Writing Letters to the Stranger."

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate you will learn how to write a carefully crafted letter to tell the facts of the story and make your case. Find out how to write story-telling letters that focus on your interest not your position. Help the Stranger understand your perspective and want to fix your problems.

Please don't hesitate to forward this issue to friends, family members, or colleagues.

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Letter to the "Decision-Making" Stranger

As you describe events, concerns, and problems, remember the decision-making Stranger who has the power to grant your requests.

The Stranger may be a school superintendent, a hearing officer, or a judge. This Stranger has the power to make important life-long decisions for your child. If you write a clear, understandable, moving letter to the Director of Special Ed, a letter that sells this person into providing you with the desired relief, then you and your child will have prevailed without a war!

Want to learn more about this "Stranger"?

When you read the original "Letter to the Stranger" you will see how this concept evolved.

* Required Reading at Wrightslaw - the Original "Letter to the Stranger" by Janie Bowman and Peter Wright.


Tactics & Strategies Corner: Use Story-Telling Letters to Persuade

Meet Joe. Learn how his problems unfolded. Feel his parents' anxiety and fear as they watch Joe's personality change.

  • Do you see Joe through his father's eyes?
  • What happened to this happy child?
  • Do you understand why Joe's parents removed him from public school?
  • What do you believe should be done to help Joe and his family?

Pay attention to your emotional reaction as you read this letter.

You will learn how to use facts to tell your story and offer support for your solution to the problem.


Use Your Letter Writing Skills to Help Resolve Parent-School Disputes

I attended the first IEP meeting for my child. I don't agree with the school's proposed IEP. What should I do?

If you disagree with the school's proposed program, you should not consent to the IEP. Always describe your concerns and objections in writing. To eliminate more

You will find more FAQs in an entire chapter about Resolving Parent-School Disputes in Wrightslaw: All About IEPs, Chapter 14.

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Success Story: A "Stranger" Letter Pays Off

After the school district refused to provide a Section 504 plan for Josh, an independent evaluator advised an IEP and accommodations for learning disabilities in written expression, reading fluency, and slow processing speed.

The school district said "No."

Read the due process complaint letter modeled after the "Letter to the Stranger" that gives a play by play of Josh's story. Learn the outcome in Josh's success story.

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What People Are Saying About The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter

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Great Products From Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright Wrightslaw: All About IEPs

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

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