Why have an educational advocate? A parent's perspective. Guest blogger.
What is Advocacy?
To me, it’s a partnership. A support person with an extremely diverse knowledge of all things Special Ed/IEP. My “go-to” for answering all my questions and my sounding board for ideas to help my children. Having an Advocate alleviates confusion and allows me to be an integral part of my child’s IEP Team. Schools aren’t usually forthcoming, at least in my experience, with diverse or “out of the box” ideas/tools that can be the make or break help for your child in the classroom. An Advocate can clarify your IEP, test results, asks for proper/necessary testing and tools that can help your child.
Advocacy with Michelle Mason is a unique experience. You can really feel that she has the best interest of your child in front of everything else. She helps to erase any doubt I have that my child is being supported in the best ways possible both in and out of the classroom. She has so many ideas of tools and strategy that I would never think of. Her vast wealth of experience as a previous classroom teacher and her sensitive side for the independent success of all children is by far her greatest quality as both an Advocate and Educational Therapist.
She has a way of helping me prepare for IEP meetings that allows me to feel calm and reassured before we even walk in the door to meet our Team. It is really nice to have a collaborative partner sitting by your side during this whole process to help reassure that we are getting what is needed for our children. I have never felt pushed or pressured into making a decision that I was not comfortable. She is great at sharing ideas and asking for my input and preference as we discuss what may be more ideal than what my child is currently receiving. I appreciate the way she explains to me, in terms that I can easily understand, what is happening. She also fully understands the testing component that goes along with having children on IEP’s. Most of which are very difficult to comprehend as a Parent. Before I found MEM, I would absolutely dread the meetings. I felt lost, ganged up on and left out of the “Team”.
After meetings, we discuss what happened and any questions I have. She also clarifies what went on and validates my feelings and/or questions. We go over the notes to confirm everything is in order.
Having an Advocate does not need to feel intimidating or scary. Quite the opposite. I’ve never felt better than when I’ve had Michelle by my side during these meetings and without her help, I’m certain we would not be getting proper services for our children.