Editor's note: Guest blogger Beth Walsh, MS, OTR/L is an educational advocate and consultant from Massachusetts. Here, she provides a professional educational advocate's perspective on how parents can make the Special Education system work for their children.
Congratulations! If you’re reading this article, you are likely feeling worried, frustrated, maybe angry, and probably at least somewhat out-of-control. So, why congratulations? Because you are taking an important step in your ongoing work in advocating for your son or daughter. Take a breath, because you are on the right path. As the English philosopher, Francis Bacon, said: “Knowledge is power”. By doing your research and reading this blog, you are empowering yourself by gathering critical information that will help your child.
Advocacy work is not easy - you know this - you’ve been at it on your own. Parenting is not easy either. Having a child with learning differences or any type of disability, big or small, can make it even trickier. You may just be starting out…or you may not even know how to start out in negotiating the world of Special Education. You may not even know what your exact concern is for your child, but you are the parent- and YOU know that something is not going right. Some of you may have been at this for years and might feel weary…. or furious.