Parents continue to “hope” that things will work out in multiple IEP meetings when they attend alone, yet years pass. Parents often get stuck when they don’t have the information necessary to work the “system”. Usually the parent doesn’t know how to address a hidden agenda. The child gets left behind.
Taking an advocate to an IEP meeting is often helpful. But which advocate?
First, a parent must understand an advocate is different from case managers, mentors and “parent trainers” who have expertise in their respective areas but usually do not exclusively work in the special education arena. This can be compared to taking a dentist with you for support when you are having open heart surgery. They might go to a meeting for free; but remember the saying “you get what you pay for”. Pitfalls exist often these folks aren’t aware. Many of them help the school along. They may leave the IEP believing changes were made for the better; yet that day’s battle was won but the war was lost.
Second, other folks represent themselves as an “advocate” yet lack experience. Real experience by an accomplished advocate is essential for the parent who needs information about complex situations. Also, membership in national professional advocate associations is an indicator the person has more background and keeps current.
The writer of this blog also has a teaching certificate, taught in both public and private schools, and testified to the legislature about the need for change in the special ed system in Missouri, and a parent of adult child with developmental disabilities.
Ask your advocate the extent of their commitment to systemic change in our state. She keeps current in cutting-edge parent strategies and is a member of a national organization since 1999. Experienced in a law firm representing parents, she understands the need for “thinking ahead”. Check out our website for more information about this advocate.
Using a professional independent advocate can provide the information that allows a parent to cut through the confusion presented by the IEP team and spare months of frustration and absences from employment. IEP teams are often ignorant about the possibilities for a student. Delay can be problematic. In Missouri call 816 865 6262.
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Special Education Parent’s Advocacy Link LLC dba The IEP Center™ are not attorneys and do not give legal advice. We do not represent parents or children. We are not licensed to practice law in any state. Consult an attorney. Nothing in this blog is to be considered legal advice. Special Education Parent’s Advocacy Link LLC advocates have special knowledge related to the problems of children with disabilities.