Being Your Child;s Advocate

One of my daughters is deaf and has had medical problems in her life so I have learned to be a parent advocate for her learning and medical needs. I find everyday that I meet parents who might have less severe issues than what we're dealing with, but need some encouragement and support on how to be a parent advocate for their child whether it's for a learning disability, or needing extra help at school or anything like that.

The best advice I can give people is to become educated. Learn as much as possible about the situation that is facing you. If you have a child who has been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, etc. the first thing you need to do is find out everything you can about the subject through the internet, talking with physicians, teachers, anyone who can help you learn more. Educate yourself so that you are coming from a position of strength.

The second thing I tell people, is to make a specific list of what you want. Know what you want when you go in to negotiate. If you want extra tutoring for your child at school, then you say okay I know I want this, so when you walk in you are bargaining from a position of strength and then be prepared to negotiate. Networking is essential. You can find groups through the internet, through your pediatrician's office; through the schools.

Finding other parents with situations similar to yours is essential because you learn terminology, you learn hints, etc. Have self-confidence and strength even if you make a mistake. We are all learning one step at a time how to do what we need to do for our children.