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Summer School 2015
Self-Study Advocacy Plan for the New Parent

Until now, parents have been barred from effective advocacy by lack of information and isolation. The Internet is changing the status quo.

Raising children is hard work. If you have a child with a disability, you’ll work harder and longer. We want to teach you to “work smarter.”

In this six part self-study series for Summer School 2015 you will learn:

  • new skills, strategies, techniques
  • about your child's disability
  • what works - effective educational practices
  • about legal rights & responsibilities
  • how to measure your child's educational progress
  • about tests and measurements
  • to negotiate and persuade


Plan and Prepare for Effective Advocacy
mom and daughter at computer

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance

As a parent, it is your responsibility to make long-term plans for your child - this is not the school's responsibility.

It’s easy to get sidetracked and lose sight of what’s important. A master plan will help you stay focused and ensure that your child gets effective, appropriate special education services.

Changes in IDEA have given parents more decision-making power when developing a special education program for your child. This Wrightslaw Summer School series will help you get some of that Parent Power!

In Introduction to Summer School 2015, you'll learn how to plan and prepare to be an effective advocate, and find out where to go to get the information you need.

Session 1

Get Your Game Plan

Parent school meetingAs a parent, you negotiate with the school for services.

To be a successful negotiator, you must understand the system and how it works.

Many parents don’t realize that school systems are bureaucracies.

Parents often don’t know how important decisions are made - or by whom.

In Session 1: Get Your Game Plan, you'll find "step #1" for gathering information and honing your advocacy skills and learn the next steps.

Get your Homework Assignment #1, Download the Game Plan Checklist.

Session 2

The Book a Month Plan

parents at meeetingYou want to advocate for your child....

  • What do you need to learn?
  • What skills do you need to acquire?

Parents are far more likely to succeed when they negotiate for special education services when they -

1. are knowledgeable about their children’s rights (and their own rights and responsibilities)

2. know how to use tactics and strategies

Read everything you can find about special education, disabilities, and how children learn.

In Session 2: The Read a Book a Month Plan, you'll find recommended reading selections for every advocate. If you follow the Book a Month Plan, you'll have the necessary knowledge and skills to be an effective advocate before the year is out.

Session 3parent-school meeting

Ten Tips for Good Advocates

The law gives parents power to use when making educational decisions for their children. Parents should not be afraid to use their power.

But, there are better ways to obtain positive results than to roar through IEP meetings in a Mack Truck.

Parents are often dealing with personal obstacles - lack of information, isolation, and emotions.

What can you do?

Learn: How to facilitate the IEP process, the art of negotiation, the interrelationship of laws, how to reduce barriers between parent & school in Session 3: Ten Tips for Good Advocates.

Session 4

5ws + H questions, who what when where why howLink Up with Other Advocates! Ask Questions!

In our self-study series for new advocates, you've what you need to learn and what skills you need to acquire.

Last week we posted 10 tips for good advocates.This week - two more tips.

Good advocates:

1. ask questions

2. link up with other advocates

The best way to become a good advocate is by exposure.

If you wanted to catch the flu, you would hang out with folks who had the flu. If you want to become a good advocate, hang around with folks who do advocacy work.

In Session 4: Link Up with Other Advocates, you'll learn the importance of asking questions and getting good advice from other advocates who will provide answers, offer ideas, and make suggestions about how to negotiate the maze of special education.


Session 5

Help Others! Become an Advocate

So You Want to Become an Advocate! Parent advocates need to plan and prepare, learn information, and develop strategies

Parent advocates need opportunities to practice advocacy skills. You'll learn how to plan and prepare to be an effective advocate, and find out where to go to get the information you need.

In Session 5: Become an Advocate, you'll find what you need to learn to become an advocate and where you can get training. You'll also find a reading and resource list.

Your Certificate

Wrightslaw 2015 Summer School CertificateCongratulations!

You have completed Summer School 2015: Self-Study Advocacy Plan for the New Parent

You've learned that IDEA gives you the power to make educational decisions for your child and that you are a key member and active participant of the IEP team.

In this Wrightslaw Summer School series your learned how to get some of that Parent Power!

Success high fiveDownload your Summer School 2015 Certificate


We appreciate your positive comments about the Special Ed Advocate summer series.

"This summer school series for parents you've been running in the newsletter is perfect for the parents I'm training at the Parent Information Center workshops. You haven't just told parents what to learn, you are telling them how to learn it and how to approach the learning.."

"Excellent job again Wrightslaw! I cannot underscore the extreme importance of maintaining an ongoing “flow” of documentation of all school activity pertaining to your student. I just love it when a school official says, 'I don’t have knowledge or evidence of the district’s approval of that service for your student'. I can respectfully reply… 'I am eager to assist the IEP team in any way I can. I have the verification document you need right here.'"

"I LOVE your site. I have never received an electronic issue that did not have an article that was personally applicable. I would very much like to do each step in the summer organization 'class'. With three young children with special needs- I can't miss organizational help!!"


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