Negotiating the Maze – 2

Parents, however, may have to strongly advocate to ensure that their child’s rights are met at school. It is the parent’s right and responsibility to see that their child has an appropriate educational program, and it is certainly acceptable for parents to advocate for their child.A parent’s relationship with the school/ school board is not a social relationship. It is a business/legal relationship with the goal of getting the most appropriate education for your child.

Most effective parent advocates share a combination of important knowledge and skills:

• An understanding of special education regulations and rules

• An understanding of special education law

• A sense of what I call procedural advocacy – how to act and conduct yourself in your interactions with schools.

• A realistic sense of what they want and how to work with staff to achieve their goals.

In the course of the next months we will explore all four of these skills in some detail. We will start with basic regulatory right all children with learning needs have in Ontario.

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