Advocating for Your Child’s Education
One of the most important roles that parents of children with disabilities can take on is as an educational advocate for them. Since your child has the right to a free appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), your advocacy will help ensure that a school meets the unique educational needs of your child.
To best advocate for your child, participate in the development of your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) annually. Under the law, the school must inform you of an IEP meeting and arrange it at a convenient time and place. You should participate in all IEP decisions. Make sure an IEP includes specific goals and objectives, which will make certain that everyone involved in your child’s education works toward the same goals. Take the IEP home to review it before signing it. You have ten school days in which to make a decision. And remember, you may request an IEP meeting at any time during the school year.
As your child’s advocate, your goal is to have your child educated in the least restrictive environment possible. An educational program should be developed to provide your child with the services and support that typical children enjoy. When appropriate, your child should be included in regular school activities, such as art, music, physical education, lunch, and recess.