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Empowering Parents: Top 10 DIY Advocacy Practices for Holistic Learning Success

Navigating the educational landscape can be daunting for parents, especially when advocating for their child’s needs. However, armed with knowledge and a proactive approach, parents can play a pivotal role in securing the necessary supports and services for their child’s holistic learning success. Under the Child Find Law, parents have the power to initiate the referral process and obtain evaluations that can lead to personalized education plans. Here are the top 10 best practices for parents to become active, meaningful participants in their child’s education journey.

1 Know Your Rights: Educate yourself on rights and protections provided by federal laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the ADA. These laws protect children with learning disabilities and medical conditions that impact your child’s education. Understanding these laws empowers you to advocate effectively for your child’s needs.

2 Document Everything: Keep detailed records of ALL communications, assessments, evaluations, and meetings related to your child’s education. Documentation serves as evidence and helps track progress or setbacks while streamlining the evaluation process.

3 Establish Communication: Initiate frequent communication with your child’s learning team. Building positive relationships facilitates the exchange of information regarding your child’s progress and challenges. Having information will allow you to support your child’s journey.

4 Request Evaluations: If you suspect your child may have learning differences or developmental challenges, submit a written request to the school district for comprehensive evaluations. These assessments provide valuable insights into your child’s strengths and areas needing support. Refer to the Parental Rights in Special Education, PRISE Manual, for procedural timelines.

5 Participate in the Evaluation Process: Attend evaluation meetings and actively participate in discussions about your child’s needs and educational goals. Share insights about your child’s strengths, interests, and concerns you have regarding their learning difficulties. You should bring a support person with you.

6 Understand Assessment Results: Understand the results of evaluations and assessments. Seek clarification by asking questions about any information, recommendations, or needed related services. Request a Prior Written Notice, which is a formal document provided to parents to inform them about proposed actions or decisions, including denials, discussed in the meeting; this is a transaction “receipt”.

7 Explore Available Resources: Research community resources, support groups, and advocacy organizations specializing in neuroeducational science and holistic learning. These resources offer valuable information, guidance, and peer support for parents navigating the educational system.

8 Collaborate on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 Plans: Work closely with school staff to develop personalized plans that address your child’s unique needs. Advocate for accommodations, modifications, and supports that promote academic success and holistic development.

9 Monitor Progress: Regularly review your child’s progress with the current plan. Stay informed about academic performance, social interactions, and emotional well-being. If you are concerned about your child’s progress, request the monitoring data so you can address this promptly.

10 Stay Persistent: Advocacy will be challenging, but perseverance is key. Trust your instincts and advocate for your child’s best interests with determination. Remember that you are not alone; there are resources available to assist you.

Remember you are the subject matter expert on your child, and implementing these 10 best practices can create a supportive educational environment where every child has the opportunity to thrive.

For more information, visit or contact Wings to Learning Advocacy LLC at [email protected].

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