Educational Advocacy Services help families negotiate special education (e.g., IEP and 504 Plan intervention), understand complex learning profiles and develop strength-based intervention plans. APG’s advocates (Ms. Sarah Kiffner & Ms. Joan Garretson) bring an “insider’s perspective” as experienced classroom/special education teachers and teacher consultants.
We are often asked what advocacy entails. The answer varies depending on the individual needs of the child, though there are several common components, including:
- Educating parents to understand what the legal rights and options for the child are
- Interpreting the student’s learning profile, including information from the school or private assessments
- Empowering parents to advocate for their child
- Observing the child in the classroom
- Discussing alternative school placements
- Attending school meetings
- Preparing parents for school meetings
- Developing intervention plans
- Assisting with IEP/504 plan development
- Understanding the instructional needs of gifted and twice-exceptional students
Our Educational Advocacy Services are based on the following core principles:
- Every child has strengths and an intrinsic desire to succeed. Many children who struggle in school no longer have an identity as a learner and, as a result, fail to put forth sustained effort because they do not expect to succeed. Our strength-based advocacy services aim to build on your child’s assets and re-establish their underlying desire to succeed.
- Collaboration and mutual understanding with schools is critical. Advocacy does not need to be an adversarial process! At its best, it is a creative and individualized process that brings the family and school together to help the student be successful in school and in life.
- Children do best with a unified team behind them. In other words, don’t go it alone. Take advantage of those in the community who are able to help. Our staff believe in the importance of supporting the family during an advocacy process and are available to meet with you and/or the school to make sure your student is receiving the best educational support. We also have an extensive referral network of professionals who can assist with the care of your child.
If this seems overwhelming or daunting to do by yourself, know that you don’t have to go through the process alone. Our staff has dozens of years of experience and training, a detailed understanding of special education law and policies, and the willingness to help you navigate this territory from a point of strength and knowledge.