School
Advocacy
hamilton

:: Finding a Support Person
:: Identification, Placement and Review Committe (IPRC)
:: IPRC Appeal Process
:: Individual Education Plan (IEP)
:: Kid's Help Phone
 

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Involving Your Child in Decisions

Children need to feel that they are valued.  When parents and other members of the family speak in a positive way about a child, and treat him or her with respect, this will help that child to feel valued.  They will think of themselves as having self-worth.  If children feel valued, they are more likely to have the confidence that they need to speak up for themselves when there is a problem.

If your child is included in the decision-making process, he or she will become better at identifying and communicating their needs, including what they need to learn.  They will also be more likely to think of themselves as partners in the process, to participate in developing their own education goals, and to help in the development of their own education plan.

When meeting with your child’s education team, ask whether it is appropriate for your child to attend a portion of the meeting.

Teachers, students and parents must work together to decide on appropriate tools to accommodate a student’s learning needs; these include calculators, computers, spell checkers, or extra time on tests, for example.  Parents may advocate for the use of tools to accommodate their child’s learning needs but it is the child who will use these tools and determine what works best for them in a variety of situations.  A child who knows she has short-term auditory memory problems, for example, can explain to the soccer coach that it's best to write the plays down on paper so that she can visualize them.

Children whose parents have been active as parent-advocates know that they have supportive cheerleaders at home.  Parents can also work with their children on ways to communicate best with the teacher.  You might say to your child...

“Do you feel comfortable telling Mrs. Jones that the book report was too difficult, or would she appreciate a note from me?”

As children enter high school they are often unprepared to communicate their learning needs to others.  However, adolescents who have been involved in their parents' advocacy efforts in elementary school or junior high will be more likely to see it as normal behaviour to ask for help with a problem, or express fears or concerns

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