You planned on your child going to school, making nice friends, working together with him on his homework, and joining school activities. But somewhere along the way, things went completely awry.
Your child is not succeeding as well as you planned. He is not doing well in one or more areas-socially, emotionally, behaviorally, or academically. What do you do now?
ad·vo·cate- verb (used with object) to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly: The mother advocated for her son’s education.
Now is the best time to become acquainted with the word advocate, and since no one knows and loves your child as much as you do; you are the best person to be his spokesperson. You are the only one who has your child’s history, medical background, and knows how he responds to various stimuli and circumstances.
8 Things Every Parent, Guardian, or Child Advocate Should Know
By Toni Hoy
1. Have confidence in yourself-only you have complete knowledge of your child and his needs. Speak with authority, solid conviction, and be the voice of reason.
2. Take a support person-the facilitator may or may not tell you that you may bring someone with you. An objective person will often pick up on things that you may overlook. It can be a relative, trusted friend, or even an attorney.
3. Know the team and their roles-listen carefully to each name and title. Don’t be shy about asking someone what their title means, how their role pertains to your child, or when you should direct your questions to that person.
4. Take notes-always bring a notepad, paper, and any notes or reports that may help you. Write down the names of all attendees, with careful notes about everything that is said. You can always refer to your notes later. Consider copying notes into a file on your computer. A journal of staffing notes can be invaluable farther down the journey.
5. Listen to the others-usually, everyone gets a chance to provide input, including parents. If you are overlooked, ask for your chance to speak. Attendees may have good insight, a frame of reference, or a plan that you may not have thought about. Be respectful and consider alternatives to your own thinking.
6. Ask questions-clarify meanings by asking pointed questions. Seek definitions regarding unfamiliar terms. Retain notes for later reference.
7. Stay focused on meeting your child’s needs-the whole goal of such a staffing is to help your child improve and succeed. Don’t sweat the small stuff, rather honing in on specific steps that can be taken to meet his needs.
8. Know the next steps-don’t leave the meeting without having full understanding of what the group agrees the next steps should be and when they are expected to be implemented. Pencil the next meeting date on your calendar and plan to attend so you can check on progress.
If you have any questions regarding support for your family, or to find out more information on how you can support this much needed group, always fell free to contact us.