Parent Advocacy: Become an educated consumer.

As a parent of an newly diagnosed individual education plan (IEP) student, I was thrown into a confusing overly complicated battle between the Pennsylvania department of education (schools) and the Pennsylvania department of justice with my child in the middle. I was forced to become the advocate without any credentials in the field. Going against the department of education (i.e. the school) without knowledge means the school did what was best for the school NOT the student.

This issue has led to a whole slew of resources (of course, that I did not know about) to assist parents in needs of their student. There is an entire profession for parents and students called ADVOCATES.

Here are just 3 of the many advocate resources found in a google search:

1) 22 advocates and education attorneys are listed at http://advocatesforspecialeducation.com/find_pennsylvania.html

2) The PEAL Center of Pittsburgh with a Philadelphia office — http://pealcenter.org/ and

3) https://adayinourshoes.com/find-a-special-education-advocate-or-special-education-attorney/

My best advice to the next parent caught in the red tape of an IEP is to become an educated, knowledgeable advocate who knows what the department of education (the schools) should be doing. The person who informed me about my rights as a parent is the coordinator at the Philadelphia school district office of specialized services. That makes me extremely happy since I want to turn the table on the adversarial relationship between parents and schools.

Parents and schools working TOGETHER is the win-win for the students. I think win-win. #iremember #constanceclayton