When determining the value of hiring an educational advocate and if the services are “worth it”, we encourage you to consider the support advocates provide to the family during the special education process and the outcome of the child’s education and future. To help you better determine the value of educational advocacy, we will outline how educational advocates help families of children with disabilities.
Families of children with learning disabilities face many challenges, but they don’t have to face them all alone.
Educational Advocates are here to help! We support families in the following ways:
Uncover Your Child’s Needs
Parents of children with learning disabilities who are found eligible for special education services and support are given all kinds of information about their child’s performance academic, developmental, and functional performance…but what does it all mean?
Evaluators and school teams provide parents with skill assessments and reports that contain standardized scores, composite scores, and no interpretation guide at all.
They include multiple tests, like the WISC-V, WCJ-III, or the CTOPP that are a veritable alphabet soup! For many parents, this information is overwhelming and frustrating to try to understand.
The purpose of all of that testing is to learn exactly where your child’s needs lie so that those needs can be addressed in an educational plan. Sometimes an advocate will request that even more specific data be gathered to fully understand the impact of a child’s disability.
The best advocates not only know how to interpret the data they have, but they also know how to ask for the data they need. For instance, as Dyslexia Specialists, we often request data on orthographic mapping, rapid naming, phonological processing, and more to tease out the specific areas of need for the student. By identifying these needs, we can then begin to build a plan that will help the child make meaningful progress.
We always say that data drives decisions and is the foundation of every child’s success.
When your child’s needs have been determined, then the school team should propose goals that are appropriate to help remediate these needs. The goals are expectations for the amount of progress a student should make in their areas of need in one year.
Once those goals are established, the team can then decide what services and accommodations the student needs to help them reach those goals.
The team can also use this data as a baseline to determine the student’s progress while their unique needs are being met. None of this is possible without a full understanding of the data and your child’s needs.
Unlock Your Child’s Potential
The key to unlocking your child’s potential is to create an educational plan that allows them to learn the information they need in a way that is impactful for them. For children with dyslexia, that means that they must be taught in a structured, explicit, and multimodal approach. The most effective advocates will be specialists in your child’s learning profile, thus having the expertise needed to create an educational plan that will work for them.
In addition to creating an educational plan that will truly help your child, they can also monitor your child’s progress to ensure that they are learning and thriving in school. If your child is not making expected progress, advocates can step in quickly to figure out where the problem lies and work with the school team to find solutions.
An effective educational plan that changes as necessary through the years can truly unlock a child’s potential and provide them with a brighter future!
Lucy Wang, 6th grade, Holmdel, New Jersey
Advocates need a combination of technical skills and interpersonal skills to do their job well. Advocates who get desired results are able to advocate for the best interests of the student in a way that is collaborative and helps to build respectful relationships between all members of the school team. In some cases, advocates can help repair relationships that may have been broken by emotional outbursts, fractured trust, or disagreements.
Advocates can also help parents build relationships with other community members. For instance, our relationships with others in the dyslexia community help our clients connect with specialized academic language therapists, dyslexia specialists in the school system, special education specialists, and other private providers. These community members can help parents obtain the information they need to ensure that the best decisions are being made for their child.
An advocate's ability to help parents build relationships within the school team and beyond can be invaluable.
Provide Peace of Mind
One of the first things our clients say, when asked how working with an advocate has helped them, is that our services provided them peace of mind and hope for the future. Parents share that while they knew ‘something was wrong,’ they didn’t always have the time, inclination, or ability to have a productive discussion with their child’s school team in order to get a different outcome. Many parents are also afraid of doing the ‘wrong thing’ and greatly benefit from working with an advocate who has a proven track record that has been validated by other parents.
Clients who work with an advocate often explain that it feels like a great weight has been lifted off of their shoulders when they finally have a professional on board to guide them through the special education process.
Deciding to hire an educational advocate is a big decision, but one that can transform your family and your child’s future.
If your family needs the help that an advocate can provide, we recommend starting with our guide, How to Find a Qualified Educational Advocate. It will walk you step by step through the process of finding an advocate and provide specific interview questions to help you make sure you are hiring the right advocate for you.
Are you worried that your dyslexic child is falling behind in school? Are you ready to see your child learn and thrive? If so, we can help! Our advocacy practice has helped countless families transform the lives of their children, and create more peace and harmony at home.
While it isn’t always easy, it CAN happen, and we will support you every step of the way. Let’s Talk about how we can help your family!