& Self-Advocacy (also see
advocates, educators, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for information about
special education law and advocacy for children with disabilities. You will find
articles, cases, newsletters, and resources about dozens of topics.
Kids As Self
Advocates (KASA) Seeks Board/Task Force Applicants -
Calling All Youth with Disabilities! Are
you interested in getting involved with the national disability youth
movement? Are you between the ages of 12 and 24? Are you interested
in learning how to inform youth
about their rights, give peer-support, training
and to change systems to include youth? If you answered
"YES" to these questions, Kids As Self
Advocates (KASA) wants YOU! National Kids As Self
Advocates (KASA) has
positions open on our Advisory Board and Task Force. We
are looking for youth with disabilities,
between the ages of 12 and 24, to serve on the
national KASA Advisory Board or our national Task
10 Tips for
Good Advocates -
Wrightslaw's Pat Howey says parents need to understand that the law
gives them power to use in educational decisions for their children. Parents
should not be afraid to use their power. But, there are better ways to
obtain positive results than to roar through IEP meetings in a Mack Truck.
Here are Pat's newest tips for effective, successful advocates.
Improving Schools: One Person is a
Fruitcake, 50 People are a Powerful Organization
If you think that you alone cannot do much to improve your school, you are
probably right. You're more likely to get what you want for your
child if you work with other parents. If you are
in a school that is not parent-friendly, this is how you might be
1 person = A fruitcake
2 people = A fruitcake and a friend
3 people = Troublemakers
5 people = "Let's have a meeting"
10 people = "We'd better listen"
25 people = "Our dear friends"
50 people = A powerful organization"
If you collaborate with other parents and organizations, you can make a
difference. There is strength and power in numbers.
Source: 12 Things Parents
(and Teachers) Need to Know About and Expect From Your Schools - and
Yourself. Originally from Parent Leadership Associates;
reprinted from www.Wrightslaw.com.
People Make: Advocates - Because the non-lawyer advocate plays an
extremely important role in the special education process, advocates must be
mindful of the power of their role and the trust parents place in them. The more
serious mistakes advocates may make are generally ones of excess.
Learning Self-Advocacy Skills -
What's the most important skill a high
school student with Asperger Syndrome or autism can learn before he or she
graduates? Run a list of candidate skills through your head. It's a good
exercise. Was self-advocacy on your short list? I think I can make a good case
that it should be.
Advocating Through Letter Writing (PDF) - A
request for a meeting with a teacher, a change in your child’s program, an
adjustment to your child’s testing schedules, all may require a letter. And not
all of us are comfortable writing a letter for these requests. It can be
intimidating and time consuming. In the following few pages you will find some
hints, suggestions or models to use when you re writing your next letter. We
hope this booklet helps you to feel confident and to improve your letter writing
to be an Effective Advocate for Quality Schools (PDF) - Whether it is
through education funding, accountability, or teacher quality regulations,
education policy affects our schools and students. For too long, these policies
have been developed without full consideration of their effect in the classroom.
ASCD is working to change that by helping educators engage in effective
advocacy. The resources in this guide and in the ASCD Action allow you to take
action to support effective education policy. This guide offers advice for
planning an advocacy campaign, communicating with policymakers, making your
voice heard, and ensuring your advocacy is effective and efficient. Using ASCD
materials and the tactics in this guide, you can make the most of your time as
an advocate. Even if you have only two minutes to spare, these tried-and-true
approaches will make sure you are respected and effective as a go-to source for
A Citizen’s Guide to Michigan State Government (PDF) -
Find names and contact information for all Michigan Senators and
Representatives, an explanation of how Michigan state government works, and tips
on how to write letters to elected officials.
"I am a parent of a child
with a disability, and a graduate of Partners in Policymaking
from Temple Univ. in PA. I am announcing my new on-line
disability rights store
http://www.theparentside.com. I am also founder of Kids
Together, Inc at
http://www.kidstogether.org, an all volunteer non-profit
promoting inclusive communities." - Colleen Tomko
A listing of professionals
all over the country offering advocacy services, legal and
otherwise, for special education. There are also categories on
assessments, therapy, and ADD among others -
One of Our Own
- On Tuesday we had the
pleasure of attending an awards benefit in Morgantown, West
Virginia. The banquet, the 2004 Governor’s Service Award
Banquet, was hosted by West Virginia Governor, Bob Wise. We
attended the banquet because Our Children Left Behind’s own
Debi Lewis was honored with an award. We are so proud of her.
Child Matters Website
Self-Determination/Self-Advocacy Guides from
Self-Determination.com (PDF format)
Inclusion, Advocacy & Self-Determination Websites
Resources for Writing a Press Release
(Compiled by Shari Krishnan; there are also excellent books
on the topic at many local bookstores):
KASA: Kids As Self Advocates - KASA is a
national, grassroots network of youth with special needs and our friends,
speaking on behalf of ourselves. We are leaders in our communities, and we help
spread helpful, positive information among our peers to increase knowledge
around various issues. Those issues include: living with special health care
needs, health care transition issues, education, employment, and many more. We
also help health care professionals, policymakers and other adults in our
communities understand what it’s like to live with special health care needs and
we participate in discussions about how to help each other succeed.
Meet with Your Congressional
Representatives During Their October Recess - How to Advocate with Your
Congressional Representatives Without Traveling to Washington: You can and
should look for opportunities to let your Members of Congress know that you and
other families living with special needs or issues are their constituents and
would like them to be responsive to your needs. Members of Congress will be in
the district for a few days leading up to the Columbus Day holiday, and this is
a great time for them to hear from you! This document provides a quick tutorial
on how to do that where you live. Click
here to continue.
Online guide to Robert's Rules of Order
- Advocacy information and online courses on employment readiness and how to
talk to legislators. Partners in Policymaking was created in Minnesota by
the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities in 1987. Partners is an
innovative, competency based leadership training program for adults with
developmental disabilities and parents of young children with disabilities.
The purpose of the program is twofold: To teach best practices in disability,
and to teach the competencies of influencing and communication. Since
1987, Partners programs have been implemented in 46 states funded by the
Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. Thousands of
Partners graduates are part of a growing national network of community leaders
serving on policy making committees, commissions, and boards at local, state,
and national levels.
Legislative Strategies for Everyday People (PDF) -
The Finance Project is pleased to announce a new
publication expanding our body of work on financing
education, family and children's services, community
building and development. This brief addresses strategies to
ensure that policy makers hear the voices of
children and families so that effective early
childhood initiatives can be enacted, implemented and
sustained. It helps readers understand how they can influence the basic
legislative processes of creating statutes,
resolutions, budgets and appropriations and when to
use alternatives to legislation. It includes examples
and lessons learned from efforts across the county to support
early childhood and other child and family
initiatives in good times as well as bad. And it
provides key guidelines and advice for everyday
people-including parents, teachers and other service providers, members of
business, religious and community groups and
many others-for educating and working with policy
makers to support initiatives that promote the
well-being of young children and their families.
What Does it Take to be an
Effective Advocate? by Lisa Simmons - Most advocates become advocates
not because they feel they have natural talents that would make them a good
advocate, but because they are "drafted". When your child, your student,
or someone you care about is not being treated fairly you simply can't look the
other way -- SOMEONE has to be their voice.
Rid of Junk Food in Your Kid's School -
Download a free, online guide describing how parents can get
rid of junk food in schools.
Special Ed Vote
Impacts Statewide School Board Elections
A Bridges4Kids Analysis by Deborah Canja
It's a would-be activist's dream come true:
Someone with kindred values monitors
Congress and alerts you to significant
votes. Better still, they draft a letter to
your congressional delegation and ask if you'd like it
faxed right away.