Downingtown, PA (PRWEB) March 19, 2007
Michele M. Paiva, author of the just released, "The Pocket Guide to Educational Advocacy" has been contacted by parents nationally who are seeking advice with their children in school systems. Paiva has developed this list of ten items to remember which translates well to almost any situation, be it a question about reading ability or, a crisis situation at a college involving a hazing.
List of ten items a parent needs to know when advocating for their child
1. Get it in writing: It is very important that not only do you get your responses in writing, but that you put all requests in writing. Keep everything backed up in your computer and also, print it out and keep it in a chronological file for reference.
2. Hold your ground, do not be intimidated: It is easy for some parents to feel intimidated if they feel like a fish out of water in the educational system. Do not fear at all. You have rights and they must be upheld. Your child has rights also that the school must be accountable for be it a child, teen or young adult.
3. Keep emotions at bay, stick to the facts: Usually, the matter of your child is a matter of the heart, and it is hard to remain unemotional and factual. However, you should try to show concern without the emotions taking over. Keeping your emotions in check will help you to provide your facts in a clear manner for not only the district or college, but to a lawyer if need be.
4. Know the laws and your rights: Most people are totally unaware of their rights. Please review the Department of Education and some nonprofit groups that advocate for students and get a grasp of your rights and the laws.
5. Have clear plans: Sometimes, when emotions run high, the focus is lost. Some parents can get sidetracked with details that have little meaning or, with points that they want to make. Make sure you outline in a paragraph or two, your goals and revisit these goals to ensure you are not off track.
6. Do not assume that just because you sign a paper that outlines rights and the law, that this is inclusive of all laws and all of your rights: Many times the paperwork you are given in meetings is simply short versions of a very large subject. Of course, you should never sign anything without another set of eyes looking at it and complete research, but don't assume that if someone says, "there are your rights" that they are your only rights! Be well versed!
7. Do not assume that the administrators and teachers are well versed in the laws or your rights, or, their obligations: You would be very shocked to know that some folks in these facilities do not know the law or rights and obligations, and even more shocked that some just done care. Stay on top of the laws for your own insurance, and don't assume anything.
8. If you feel overwhelmed, seek legal aid or professional advocacy: There are nonprofits that can help you, lawyers who specialize and even many state departments who can guide you to the right departments or directions. Do not worry about feeling overwhelmed because there are resources for you.
9. Understand that the school, teachers and administrators may be correct, and that not all of them are so bad; many care and are wonderful! This is important. Just because I have worked with advocacy and have written on advocacy does not mean to instill that all schools, employees of such and universities are have ill intention. Many times, if you are clear, and work to bring resolutions to the table, the administrators and teachers will often comply or make an effort. Be fair. If there is a crisis situation, they need to be fair and also go through a process; they may not seem to care but in most cases, they probably do. Don't jump to conclusions.
10. Above all, choose your battles. Focus on resolutions for your child that will bring harmony and proactive solutions. Keep stress at bay for your child: The bottom line is that students are children with feelings. Be it a five year old, a fifteen year old or a twenty-five year old. Be sensitive to the child's stress level. If you feel that the child is happy enough, getting a fair education and needs being met in a proper fashion it is probably better to let the small details go. Although it would be nice, most schools and universities simply can't have a custom plan for each student, so if they are being fair, think about the child and work to create harmony for the best interest of the child.
Paiva's book can be purchased by emailing the authors site as well as contacting Rain Publishing. Paiva is available for lectures, seminars and signings.