As the parent of a child with a learning disability or other learning difficulty, you’ve probably done your homework. You’ve read up on your child’s special needs, learned about what services he or she needs, and maybe even have a 504 plan or an IEP in place. You’re off to a great start.
Lyn Pollard & her two children
Lyn Pollard & her two children
If you’re like me, despite your ongoing efforts to work with your school and learn as much as you can, you may not be completely satisfied with the solutions in place for your child. Perhaps the school campus team is cooperative, but not necessarily very effective at implementing your child’s accommodations or IEP plan. Perhaps you’re struggling to get your school to recognize your child’s disability. Or, maybe despite your child being accommodated in the classroom, he or she is facing stigma, bullying, or other hardships at school simply because she learns and plays differently.
You might be asking yourself — what else can I do? My short and sweet answer is a lot!
Think Outside the BoxThroughout my journey as the mother of two kids with learning disabilities and special needs (my daughter has dyslexia, dysgraphia, and AD/HD, and my son has high-functioning autism and AD/HD), I have continually sought to think outside the box when it comes to both education about and advocacy for my kids with differences.
When I began my advocacy journey shortly after my children’s diagnoses, I quickly discovered my favorite resources, including NCLD and Wrightslaw. They helped educate me on what steps to take to help my kids. (Scour them thoroughly if you haven’t already!) After I tackled the basics, I embarked on a personal campaign to see what else I could do to create change for my kids at their school and in our community.
Over the past four years, I’ve written letters, started a blog, pitched my stories to newspaper and magazine editors, started a community support group, connected with my local state representatives, attended conferences, spoke before my school board, tweeted, posted, talked, and even sung about how my children’s disabilities have affected our family and have both complicated and enhanced our lives.
I call these techniques “Out-of-the-Box Advocacy.” They’re ways to go beyond traditional advocacy to take a stand and create change for your kids. You’d be surprised how easy, fun, and effective it is at creating tangible, meaningful change for your kids and others just like them.
Now, thanks to the NCLD, it’s my chance to share some of my favorite out-of-the-box tips here on LD.org. I hope it opens doors to innovative and effective ways to advocate for your children with learning disabilities. Let’s take it to the next level! Check out the series below:
- Out-of-the-Box Advocacy: Talk LD on Facebook and Twitter
- Out-of-the-Box Advocacy: Talk LD on Pinterest
- Out-of-the-Box Advocacy: Talk LD with Letters and Email
- Out-of-the-Box Advocacy: Talk LD with Blogging
- Out-of-the-Box Advocacy: Talk LD in Your Community
- Out-of-the-Box Advocacy: Talk LD at Your Child's School
Lyn Pollard is a freelance writer, parent advocate, and the mother of two kids who learn and play differently. A former journalist and change management consultant, Lyn writes, talks and tweets about advocacy, literacy and safe schools for kids with learning disabilities and special needs. Check out her piece in the New York Times.