A parent can be a child’s best advocate, although everyone has the ability to become a strong advocate. To become an effective advocate, you must spend time preparing and learning important advocacy skills.

Educational Advocacy: It’s important to do your homework.  You should become familiar with the school’s Student Handbook and 504 or Special Education Procedures Guide, so that you know what the process should be if you and school staff aren’t on the same page:

Communication Matters – ASK

Parent Guide to Educational Advocacy – ASK

Tips for Parents & Educators – ASK

Evidence Based Practices – PACER

Family Education Rights Privacy Act –  US Department of Education

Letter Writing – NICHCY

Special Education Decision Making – Role of the Foster Parent – American Bar Association

Systems Change/Political Advocacy:  Parents have been the driving force in legislation for access to public education and other disability systems.  Your voice and story are important for policymakers to hear.

Disability History Timeline – KASA

FAST: Telling Your Personal Story – PACER

Self-Advocacy for Youth:  School and home are great places for young adults to learn and practice speaking up for their needs and wants, with supports from adults, before they are expected to do this on their own in their work and community.  Remember, youth are the leaders of tomorrow.

Tips for Teens – PACER

Be Your Own Best Advocate – PACER

The Three Principles of Self-Advocacy – LeDerick Horne

How Can You Help Your Child Learn to be a Good Self Advocate – PACER

Age of Majority – Transfer of Rights – ASK



The National Center of Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE):

Parents as Presenters

InfoNet (Advocacy Toolkit)

Youth Leadership Forum

A Brief History of the Parent Advocacy Movement