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Just in Time for School Year: Special Education Advocate Launches Must-Have School Supply for Parents, Teachers of Children with Disabilities

July 22, 2010
Hayward, CA (PRWEB)

Parents around America will soon prepare their children to return to school. But are the parents themselves ready? For millions of parents raising children with special needs (or suspected learning disabilities) there is yet another step: gain educational advocacy skills to negotiate a specialized program for their child. They must learn this now, at the beginning of the school year, to effectively team up with educators to develop a program with measurable educational goals.

Special education advocate Graciela Tiscareño-Sato and her husband are eight years into raising a daughter who is blind. She's thriving in the local public school, within the California special education system. She reads and writes in Braille and loves school, despite having both vision and hearing impairments due to a severely premature birth.

The Satos compiled their knowledge of law and seven years of negotiating experience into a multimedia DVD for all parents, service providers and educators in our educational system. The parents attended a Wrightslaw Special Education Law Boot Camp before their daughter started public preschool. They learned about parental and child rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). They learned how school districts make decisions about special education programs. This laid the foundation for the positive relationships they've built with their IEP teams.

The seminar DVD contains the written rules (key legal passages all parents must know), the unwritten rules (organizational culture of school districts), and uniquely, the tools the Satos created to keep all IEP meeting child-centric. The presentation is sprinkled with first-hand accounts of events they've witnessed in IEP meetings and how parents can learn to negotiate their way through similar situations. Graciela adds best practices learned while coaching client families in various school districts.

The DVD was created for:

  • Parents of children raising children with known special needs (physical or otherwise)

  • Parents who suspect their child may have a learning disability

  • Parents with a family history of dyslexia or other learning disabilities

  • Early intervention professionals working with babies from birth to age three

  • Teachers, administrators educating children with disabilities who've had little exposure to IDEA

Graciela published an advocacy article in the National Federation of the Blind's Magazine "Future Reflections" last fall. The positive feedback led her to create a seminar. She has presented this two-hour seminar monthly in the San Francisco bay area since November to parents with children on IEPs, to preschool parent groups and at the Infant and Early Childhood Conference in Tacoma.

Maureen Gilhooly, a parent of a child with special needs who is now pursuing a Special Education Credential, attended Grace's live seminar and said, "Grace presented a wealth of actionable information for both new and seasoned parents. Parents and educators will benefit greatly from her knowledge."

Graciela owns Tiscareno-Sato Advocacy Services. The new DVD includes statements heard from teachers and administrators in various districts. These statements, many times based on organizational behavior instead of law, are instructive to all school personnel. Graciela is determined to build bridges of knowledge between parents and educators, so that children with disabilities receive continuous educational benefit. This DVD will be available in Spanish if there is sufficient demand.

This is the second advocacy DVD by this family. The first, "Letting Your Child's Wild Side Out: Raising a Confident Blind Baby, Toddler, Preschooler," has shipped to school and agencies in 29 states, Canada and Australia.

Between today and August 31st, parents and educators who contact Graciela and state where they saw this story will be entered into a drawing. The Satos will select three winners on September 1st and give each a complimentary DVD. The advocacy skills DVD is available here.

About Graciela and Tiscareno-Sato Advocacy Services, LLC.

Besides working as a special education advocate for seven years, Graciela has presented at disability conferences to parents and educators. She's published numerous articles. She's fluent in Spanish, holds a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and a Masters in International Management from Whitworth College. Connect through Facebook.

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