How to Become an Advocate for Children

Child advocacy will always refer to a range of individuals, advocacy organizations and professionals who promote development for the children. An organization or individual engaging in advocacy will want to protect the children’s rights that have been abused or abridged in various areas. For this, you must learn how to become an advocate for children.

Children with special needs always need a lot of attention and care. Being parents to such children can be rewarding and exhausting at times. There are many ways to become an advocate for a child. Here are some simple steps on how to become an advocate for children.

Things Required:

  • Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)

School Issues

  • Start finding out what kind of schools is available for your child. This is one of the most common areas where children need someone to advocate for them. Some states will have special-needs schools, while others may not. Those states will have special classrooms inside their school for the special-needs children. Therefore, start finding out what kind of school is available for your child and visit that school.
  • Fill out the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for your child. Does not matter what school is available for you; you will have to fill out the paperwork for your child. However, remember that the IEP admissions can be a pain, but in the end, you will be thankful for the documents. The documents given by the IEP are legal and binding as per the court of law. Due to this form, you can add as much information as you like. If it is not documented with the IEP, your child’s school will not follow it. The first year will be a trial and error method as you will be learning what has to be included and what needs to be taken out.
  • Always make sure that you have included everything you can in the IEP. You must consider adding the number of therapy sessions that your child will need every week and what kind of therapies. Mention the requirements for the 1:1 aide for everyday activities, bus and field trips, eating arrangements and all the other important details. Does not matter how silly a thing can be, but it is important for your child.
  • If you notice that the school is not adhering to IEP, and you have contacted them unsuccessfully, then you can demand for a hearing. Every state will have a different address, but you will get all the information that is given to you when they create your IEP, so make sure that you are saving all the documents. If they fail to handle your issue satisfactorily at the hearing, then you can get your matter before the judge. The school will know how binding the IEP is, so mostly you won’t have to request for a hearing.

At Doctor’s Office

  • Always stand your ground whenever you are dealing with the doctors. If you sense that something is wrong with your child and your doctor says there is nothing wrong, then you must take an action against it. Demand to meet a specialist in a calm manner. Every doctor will give you a referral for seeing a specialist. There are many pediatricians who specialize in special-needs children, and they will listen to all your complaints and find out what is wrong. Always remember that you must never discount your parental intuition.
  • Stand your ground when you are dealing with the insurance companies. Along with the doctors, you will have to advocate for a child, with insurance companies. They will always deny the fact that your child needs something extra, but you must never give-up. Get all the required documentation from the therapists and doctors to back up all your claims. Also, make sure that you check with the parents about what their insurance agencies cover. In most of the cases, you will get diapers for free until the age of 3. The insurance companies will never tell you this, but you can find out from other parents and doctors.
  • Advocating for a child with special needs can be very nerve racking at times, but you must do it.  

Tips and Warnings:

  • If you notice that no one is following your IEP and you want a hearing, then you must consider hiring a lawyer. Most of the judges will not speak to the parents unless there is a lawyer present.
  • Not being an advocate for your kid is not the solution. If you are neglecting the most important role of a parent, the only one suffering will be your child.

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  3. How to Interact With Children
  4. How to Teach ADD/ADHD Children
  5. How to Prevent Child Abuse
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