By Mary Fowler
- Most teachers appreciate your clearheaded understanding of your child’s problems and any possible interventions you can suggest.
- Read and keep up to date on new research.
2. Use knowledge to help, not to hammer.
- Knowledge helps create solutions for problems. But sometimes knowledge can be used to beat up on people who “should know better.” That’s like calling someone a “stupid idiot.”
- You want to help by sharing your knowledge.
3. Speak up, not out. Good communication skills are crucial for effective advocacy.
- Always be polite and respectful, even of people who don’t seem to warrant your respect. Act as if they might rise to the occasion one day.
- Be aware of your tone, volume, and body language. Don’t make accusations. If you feel you’re going to lose it, excuse yourself. Nothing gets solved during a shouting match.
4. Know your intention. Before meetings, have an agenda.
- What are your child’s needs?
- What do you hope to accomplish?
- Is there a specific problem that needs attention?
- Put your energy there.
5. Stay focused on your intention.
- Don’t get side-tracked by emotional issues that may come up in conferences or phone calls. Either you or the school personnel may have an agenda.
- Stick to the agenda of solving problems and meeting needs. The meeting will move more smoothly.
6. Use conflict resolution skills. Don’t get too invested in the belief that your way is the only way.
- Conflict resolution is a negotiation. Both parties have perspectives and issues that belong on the table.
- Look for ways to solve the table topics that create wins for all. Avoid the
“I win/you lose” agenda.
7. Bring a skilled advocate to meetings. It can be intimidating to deal with school staff on your own, especially when you’re first learning about ADHD and feel as though you are in over your head.
- Parent/child advocates can help you. Look to your local disability support groups to
find these names.
- Find your local disability support groups by reading newspaper calendars, asking school personnel or your child’s treatment professionals, or by searching the Web.
8. Keep good records.
- Get a large three-ring binder.
- Fill it with records of anything pertaining to school: report cards, meetings, phone
contacts, evaluations, intervention plans, and so on.
By Mary Fowler http://www.maryfowler.com
Mary trains educators and parents on ADHD, emotional challenges, and classroom management practices. An internationally recognized expert on ADHD, she is the author of four books, including the bestseller, Maybe You Know My Kid (3rd edition), Maybe you Know my Teen, the original CHADD Educators Manual, and 20 Questions to Ask If Your Child has ADHD.
Reprinted, with permission of the author, from 20 Questions to Ask if Your Child Has ADHD© 2006 Mary Fowler. Published by Career Press, Franklin Lakes, NJ. All rights reserved.
“Think of this book as facts with personality. Answers are written in an easy-to-read, conversational style from a parent who’s been there”. Organized into four easily manageable categories:• General/Medical Information • Social/Emotional Well-being • Home Issues • School Issues. ($10 on Kindle – $13 for paperback)