Advocacy And Disability Essay

1274 words - 5 pages

Advocacy and Disability PAGE 6
Advocacy and DisabilityLeah de RosaUniversity of PhoenixBSHS 442Genevieve Damon, MSW, MBADecember 10, 2007Advocacy and DisabilityAccording to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 15% or one in seven Americans has learning disabilities (, 2007). The need for Human Services professionals to assist parents in advocating for their child to receive appropriate services and to assist in the process has become a necessary task. This paper will discuss the role of the advocate in reference to assisting parents through the difficult process and ensure the child receives the services and resources needed.Under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), each state must provide necessary funding for any child diagnosed with a disability; s/he should receive legally mandated services and resources necessary to fulfill her/his educational needs. Congress did not make many adjustments when approving the new IDEA 2004; instead they placed more pressure on parents to fight for the needs of their child, and requiring more assistance from an advocate. This process follows a child through graduation; therefore, making certain the process is done fairly, most times, an advocate is requested and needed by the parents (Wrightslaw, 2007).Parent advocatesParent advocates (PA) are helpful to parents and guardians who have a child with disabilities as they attempt to navigate the complicated waters of ensuring the proper services and resources are readily available to meet the goals and needs of the child with disability or special needs. A PA would first assist the parents in obtaining any written statements from the child's file and to gain access to the student records, as the parents have the right to inspect and review this under the law (Wrightslaw, 2007). Schools are rarely compliant; therefore, the PA knows how to best write the letters to achieve the best results.With the records in hand the advocate is essential in making sense of them, also estimating what aspects of the reports are missing (SPANNJ, 2007). As the informed person, the advocate knows how to read the records, and decide how the school is thinking of the child in question. If the school is not painting an accurate picture, then the PA would make a point to correct the information in the file. The PA would make certain the parents change anything which is misrepresented, erroneous, or infringe upon the rights or privacy of the child. For instance, the author's nephew had a psychiatric evaluation by the District Psychiatrist, and this was supposed to remain confidential. However, somehow this was written in his IEP, and when the records were received by the PA, she noticed and told his parents. Once told, they immediately made certain the information was removed from his record. Anyone who read the chart prior to this being removed was made to sign a confidentiality statement.As the process proceeds, an experienced PA is needed,...

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