Monday, October 23, 2017

10 Things to Remember When Advocating for Your Special Needs Child

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Wondering how to be the best advocate for a special needs child? Well, then you'll want to keep these 10 things in mind when advocating for your child with special needs.

If you know me in real life and happened to ask me one simple question at all last year, I would have responded in one of two ways: tears or a lengthy rant. It really depended on the day.

See, things did not go well for my son J at school last year. 

Not one bit.

It was not only a difficult year for him, but for me as well. I'm still recovering from hours of lost sleep and stress, still scrambling to find myself again.

"How is school going for your kids?" 

That was my trigger.

Seemingly innocent question, right?

Well, now that things have settled, I have more clarity on the entire situation. 

I have had plenty of time to reflect on last year and I am trying my best to focus on the positive. And I think the most positive thing I learned from last year is that now I truly know how to best advocate for J and his needs at school.

So whether you are struggling with your own school advocacy fight or with some other stupid system, I want you to keep some things in mind. Even in the thick of it all, it's important to keep these 10 things in mind when advocating for your child with special needs.

Advocacy tips: how to advocate for your child with special needs

Things to Consider When Advocating for Your Child with Special Needs

Advocating for your special needs child is not easy, especially when you are stressed out and so is your child.

But it is so important that you advocate hard to make sure your child's needs are met because if you won't, who will? Besides, you want to model advocacy skills to your child so that one day, they'll be able to advocate for themselves with confidence.

Your role as a parent advocate for special needs and the things you need to remember when advocating for your special needs child


  1. Thank you for giving parents ways to advocate for their child. Some parents are so overwhelmed with the process, they do not know where to start. There are some good ideas for them here.

    Communication is the biggest necessity and yet the hardest for parents to start. I was fortunate that I worked for a school district where I worked closely with the Special Education department before we needed their services. I knew what questions to ask and already understood some of the processes that needed to be completed before they could begin to help.

    The most important thing is: if you do not understand what is being said, ask questions and keep asking questions until you understand. I know of parents who walked away confused and uninformed because they didn’t pursue what they didn’t understand.

    The group I worked for worked hard for their students and cared for their well being and their education. Get to know your child’s team and talk to them regularly

    1. Such great advice, Elaine! Communication is definitely the most important part when it comes to advocating.

  2. Hello Dyan,
    Here I am at 02:45am confused and in tears, trying to research what could be wrong with my son. I do not know what to do and where to start.
    My son is 25 months old, who knows every letter of the alpabet (plus differences between Ch and Sh etc.) and numbers up to 10. This was okay with me ,infact I loved it, until he started acting obsessive. Soon as he woke up from his afternoon nap today and said "mumm, mum,, Rrrr? Sss? Ttt? Got me a pen and paper insisted I write some letters.
    I knew for months that my son should have understood more of what I say. But I thought give him time. He does have speech delay but does have around 50 words but no sentences. One of my main concerns except for lack of understanding is that 1. He answers specific questions in the same way every time. Such as; Where shall we go today? He says "Park". We go to the park, I ask him again "where shall we go today?" He says park. But we're already at the park already! He knows what park is, but has the need to answer that question in the same way everytime. Same as "what would you like?" He says milk every time. Even if he has had milk 5 mins ago.
    2. He does not look at where I am pointing. When I point to something on the wall, he might just turn around and look at the wrong direction.
    Oh, and when he is showing me something, like a dog, he will say "this?" "Dog" "this?" "Hat".
    He has good eye contact. Seems pretty social. Loving, loves cuddles. So sleeping or eating issues.
    What do I do? Where I live I do not think anybody has ever heard of hyperlexia:(