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You Need a Special Education Advocate: Why building a relationship with an advocate before there's an emergency is advantageous.

Don't be alone. use an advocate

Who needs a special education advocate? Everyone.

We find that many parents do a good job of advocating for their children by using Google, asking friends, watching videos, reading books, and reading the parental rights document(s).  Despite their best efforts to advocate for their child, many still feel confused and guilty that they are not doing more for their child. These feelings end up compounding, and then situations feel like emergencies. This is typically when we find families reaching out for direct advocacy support. There is a sense of urgency, panic, and fear associated with emergencies. At Sage EAC, we can help avoid these feelings and emergencies. In our previous posts, we offered strategies to help families avoid feeling like everything is an emergency.  

Having an experienced advocate is one of the most powerful tools for ensuring you never feel like your child’s experience needs emergency interventions. An advocate who understands the laws, regulations, processes, procedural safeguards, evidence-based teaching strategies, and the interworkings of school districts will yield the best outcomes for your child. An advocate allows you to maintain your role as a parent while increasing accountability for your child’s growth and progress. An advocate can ask questions about the process, ensuring all procedural safeguards are met, and identify areas that need more attention that directly impact your child’s progress.  

Why should everyone have an advocate?

  1. To even the distribution of power: An advocate shows districts that they cannot take shortcuts in serving your child's needs.  

  2. Experience: The right advocate brings experience, which is invaluable when working with school districts and teams. The right advocate is able to identify solutions that some teams might not see. The right advocate is able to understand the position of the district and predict their next steps while ensuring your child’s rights are upheld.  

  3. Increased district accountability: The right advocate increases the accountability of the district. Simply having an advocate will cause them to pay more attention to your student. The right advocate knows the processes and procedures to ensure accountability and how to initiate formal disagreements.  

  4. Data analysis: The right advocate knows how to use data to drive conversations and student progress. The right advocate ensures goals are not based on “feelings” but rather on data from assessments. The right advocate ensures that goals are relevant to identified areas of need. The right advocate demands and ensures the distinct use of data to drive specialized instruction. The right advocate uses data to ensure accommodations are individualized and relevant to identified barriers. 

  5. Confidence: The right advocate combines their experience, knowledge, compassion, and drive to ensure students with disabilities' rights are protected.  

  6. Proactive: Having an advocate on your side before there’s an emergency ensures that you have someone in your corner and will decrease panic and anxiety.

At Sage EAC, we want families to seek advocacy support early in their journey. By partnering with an advocate early in the journey, we are able to avoid emergency situations, ensure your child's IEP is appropriate and data driven, and most importantly, give you the confidence that your child will meet their IEP and life goals.  

We want to help families support their learners from the beginning of their journey in special education. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation.


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