Pennsylvania Parents and Caregivers Resource Network

 Quick Ideas
What I've Learned Along the Way
(or advocating advice from the aged)

Know yourself and your abilities. Make a list of what you do well. Once you realize with what you can do, itís a lot easier to do it. Knowledge is power!

Learn as much as you can about the special education or agency process. No one is going to be a better advocate for your child than you are! Join support groups! Send for resource information.

Trust your judgment. You know your child best. No one knows him/her better than you do.

Learn all you can about your childís disability from persons in the medical field, persons who give private evaluations and any other resource people you can find.

Ask questions until you understand. Make a list before you have appointments and meetings. Be sure to have all evaluations explained to your understanding.

Write down what you want. Itís very important! Prioritize what is needed! It is very important.

Find out whatís available. Talk to anyone who can help you: support groups, evaluators, teachers, and other parents - anyone that can tell you what is really available.

Know the law or know someone who can help you understand the law. Check your resources and know what to do if you donít get what you need. Prioritize again what you will do if things donít go the way you expect.

Get everything in writing. Put everything in writing. If itís not in writing it doesnít exist. Always keep a copy!

When interacting with other people, do remember several things:

  • Be realistic. Thereís a big difference between what is ideal and what is truly appropriate. Really listen to what people have to say and think it all through.
  • Separate the people from the problem; donít let personal issues interfere. Try putting yourself in the other personís position.
  • Avoid being adversarial: Assertive and adversarial do not mean the same thing.
  • Offer solutions to your problems. Ideas can help a great deal in reaching goals.
  • Be positive and cooperative. Let people know when you are pleased with their help.
  • Be persistent! NEVER assume anything!

2001 - Prepared for Pa Parents and Caregivers Resource Network by Nancy J. Thole Ė E-Mail:

717-561-0098 PPCRN 1-888-5-PARENT

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