Back to School = Back to Advocacy for Parents of Kids with Special Needs
With a new school year only days away, many parents are busy buying school supplies for their kids. While kids may be wishing for summer not to end, parents welcome a return to a routine.
Well most parents. For parents and caregivers of kids with special needs, a return to school can be fraught with emotions. It also means a new round of advocating for their child to get the support they need, in an often over taxed school system.
“As a parent of a child with special needs, it’s not as easy as buying a new backpack and making sure they have school supplies for the first day,” explains Cynthia Lockrey, author of Your Child’s Voice – A Caregiver’s Guide to Advocating for Kids with Special Needs, Disabilities, or Others Who May Fall through the Cracks. “We also need to make sure medications are filled, check to see what support our child has for the upcoming year, and bring the new teacher up to speed.”
“A new school year also means a new year of advocating for our child. Unfortunately, without ongoing advocacy, a child with special needs can slip through the cracks as a school juggles to support the various needs of its students.”
Some tips to help parents prepare for the school year include:
- Have clarity on your child’s diagnosis
- Explain how that diagnosis presents in your child (example two kids with autism will have completely different needs).
- Highlight your child’s strengths and how to bring them out
- Be clear on triggers your child has or areas where they need extra support
- Help the new teacher see your child as a person, not a label
- Know the support your child will receive, and enlist your child’s support team (doctors, therapists, etc.) if you need to advocate for additional support
- Remember there is a line between bullying and advocacy. Make sure you foster a positive relationship that will help you during the school year.
I hope these tips will help you navigate advocating for your child. If you’re looking for more tips and advice, check out my book Your Child’s Voice.Tags: advocating advocating for your child at school back to school children with special needs Cynthia Lockrey how to advocate for children with special needs raising children with special needs special needs useful tips for caregivers of kids with special needs your child's voice