Advocacy is a word we've all heard, but few know the extent of the meaning. It's is defined as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others. In the case of parents of students with special needs, advocates will walk you through 504's and IEP's, assist with school meetings and help make sure the needs of the student are being met.
When a 504 or IEP meeting is initiated for the first time (and every 3 years in the case of IEP's), teachers and parents of the student will meet to discuss academic concerns that could necessitate the need for further classroom assistance. Once this meeting is held, should the team agree, the student will be given multiple assessments by the school psychologist to determine exact areas of need. The primary areas are: Reading (Basic, Comprehension and Fluency), Math (Reasoning and Calculation) and Writing. Once the assessments are complete and reviewed by the psycologist, the team will meet again to review the findings. This can be a daunting task, especially for parents who are new to the Special Education system. That's where an advocate comes in. As an advocate, we review the 504 or IEP with the parent and then detemine if we should also attend the team meetings. If the advocate does attend a meeting, they will "translate" the education teminology used in the documents that may not be clear to the general public. They'll also assist with developing acadmic goals in the areas of need and speak on behalf of parents if needed (given consent of course).
Here at Teachers As Tutors, we have multiple amazing tutors who are currently Special Education certified and are ready to help you through the process. If you have any questions about advocacy or want to hire an advocate, please contact us and we'll do our best to give you answers and get you paired with one of our team members!