Top Tips from Successful Parents: Make Your Voice Heard
Parents can be powerful advocates for children with learning disabilities. They can influence change and LD awareness at many levels. We asked NCLD's Parent Leaders what advice they would give other parent advocates.
Here's a list of their top tips:
Start small and find your focus:
- Define and refine your advocacy objective(s). No one person or group can do it all. Keep your message clear and focused.
- Play to your strengths. Whether acting alone or as a group, tap into your skills and experience to maximize results.
- Document your child's personal story, including his or her disability, to share with others. (Esther Falcetta)
- Spend just 15 minutes a week taking action for the LD cause and you can make a difference for your child and many others! (Esther Falcetta)
- Invite 15 other families to join your advocacy movement.
Do your homework:
- Educate yourself about state and federal laws that protect children with disabilities.
- Learn who your state legislators are, and familiarize yourself with their views on education policy. (Esther Falcetta)
- Stay on top of developments in education law. Sign up for Legislative Action Alerts from NCLD and your Parent Training and Information Center (Myriam Alizo)
Form a group:
- Join forces with others who are passionate about your LD campaign. Look beyond the obvious players; many teachers, school principals, and other parent groups care as deeply about LD as you do. (Michael Kaczor)
- Form a local parent support group and find ways to work with other parent organizations to mobilize the power of parents in your local school district, or at the state or national level. (Michael Kaczor)
- Keep communication and motivation alive within your group. (Andrew Kavulich)
Take action/Organize an event:
- Contact decision-makers (such as school administrators or legislators). Write a letter or request a meeting, briefly stating your concerns about disability policy. Include a copy of your child's story. (Andrew Kavulich and Esther Falcetta)
- Organize a national day of LD awareness around a theme, such as "I'm Me and I'm Awesome." (Julie Buick)
- Stage a large-scale LD awareness event, such as a Million Moms March on Washington, D.C. (Michael Kaczor)
- Schedule an LD awareness event on a national holiday. For example: On Labor Day, publicize the need to support individuals with LD in the workplace. (Marcie Lipsitt)
- Post your personal story about living with LD on YouTube and Facebook. Encourage others to do the same. (Julie Buick)
- Leverage the power of the media to alert others to upcoming LD advocacy events and publicize your group's mission.