where do you FIND and advocate?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Kjs, May 30, 2007.

  1. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I have been trying to find an advocate. Maybe I am just not looking in the right places. Any advice on how to find one?
     
  2. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Kjs,

    You need to get on the phone and start banging on doors until you find an advocate to help you. Your school district is feeding you, in my humble opinion, half truths. While I agree you probably don't have to sign IEP for it go into effect, you absolutely *do* have to agree with- it. Additionally, if you disagree with- a change in placement, they cannot make the change without going to mediation/due process. on the other hand, if you disagree with- current placement, then you are going to have to file mediation/due process.

    From where I'm sitting, you've been slammed with- many of the complexities of sped law, a kiddo who is struggling, *and* an school district who is not, by your description, conducting themselves in a reasonable manner. You have a lot to digest, learn, and organize, and you need help.

    I'm going to post some links below, but *also* the school district is required by federal law to give you resources as well. So, first thing I'd do is send a short, sweet letter requesting contact information for protection and advocacy agencies in your area. Certified mail. Don't get into details - just:

    Dear Sped Director:

    I would appreciate it if you could forward a list of available local advocacy resources to assist me in understanding the provisions of IDEA.

    I look forward to receiving it in XX days (I'd give 10, but I'm a pain). Thank you for your assistance.

    Sincerely,

    KJS

    Links:

    http://www.disabilityrightswi.org/index.php

    http://www.specialed.us/pl-07/pl07-resources.html (several links here)

    Since school is almost out, and this is just my opinion, I'd take a breather to get a copy of the IEP, the evaluations, and an advocate together. Sit down and come up with- a game plan - what needs to be in IEP, whether or not you agree with- testing results and recommendations, whether or not you need to request further testing or an IEE. Get confident in your knowledge of applicable state/federal law (print copies of both state and federal law, get them in binders, and personally, I found it highly effective to prominently label the binders - seriously, there was a remarkable change in school district attitude when I walked in with my binders that had numerous labeled post-its to give me fast access to certain sections of the law :wink: ) and then in July or August, request an IEP meeting to lay out your concerns (assuming you will still have concerns once you get all the info together).

    This is a marathon. While I know you want to get things fixed *now*, in my experience when you're frazzled and stressed and trying to get all this information straight in your head, it's incredibly hard to be an effective advocate.

    Hang in there - you are going to be an *expert* in sped law before you know it.
     
  3. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    By the time this all gets through the school year will be over. Can I still continue this even if the school year is over? The staff at his school will no longer be working, but the District office is open.
     
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Yes, you can continue, though in the past I've had problems with- getting teachers/support staff together for summertime IEP mtgs. However, under new IDEA regs, if you and school district agree to it, the entire IEP team does not have to be present for mtg. Sheila and Martie once addressed summer time mtgs with- their usual legal specificity - don't quote me but I believe the answer was if school district offices are open, then an IEP mtg can be held though you may not get difficult children specific teacher present. (Hopefully they'll clarify that!!) In my experience, SDs really pitch a fit over summer time IEP mtgs but... tough.
     
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Did you call the law office I posted on one of your threads yesterday to see if they can recommend anyone?
     
  6. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

  7. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I did find a number for information on one of the links you posted. I sent an email, and will followup with a phone call, when I get home from work.
     
  8. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Most of the advocate sites from within the links do not have advocates in Wisconsin. And the only time I have seen any Advocate information there have been two offices. One in Milwaukee and one in Madison...None where I live.
    I will keep looking. Thanks
     
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Kjs, you should PM MidwestMom. She lives in Wisconsin and has used advocates.
     
  10. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    More possibilities – there are others, you just have to find them. If they don’t have anyone on staff, ask if they can recommend someone or an organization.

    The Procedural Safeguards that the school district gave you should also have some listed.
     
  11. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    You might look to parent groups of special needs kids (Autism Society, various disabilities, etc) to inquire if they know anyone locally.
     
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