How do I become a more effective advocate for my loved one with special needs?

To become a more effective advocate for your loved one with special needs:

v     Follow through on your instincts and investigate anything that you think may not be on the up and up.

v     Put it in writing and save a signed copy for your records, specifically lay out what is bothering you or your family member. The more focused you are in your letter it’s easier for the caregiver or supervisor to resolve it.

v     Whether your loved one lives with you, in a group home, or in a long-term care facility, you must be physically present in order to assess his needs involved, too.

v     Join a support group. They are also a good source of support, and they can give you the strength that you need to keep on going. Support groups don't need to provide all of the answers, but they may be just what you need to get a better handle on your family member's care.

v     If your child is having a problem with her teacher, don't call the principal first. Instead, discuss the problem with the teacher and attempt to work it out. If this doesn't work, speak with that teacher's department chair or a supervising social worker. If unresolved, you can pursue it to the principal's office and beyond, if necessary. In most cases, you won't have to reach the highest level before resolving the problem, which will make it more effective if you do have to complain to a supervisor about something more serious later on.


The above is from Special Needs Planning News from the Academy of Special Needs Planners

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