first of all, when your child is placed into special education the school is obligated to give you contact information to local parent advocate training, here in TN its called STEPS, every state has one. go to your states gov site, www.(yourstatesnamehere).gov and look for the education department, then there is ARC, call social services in your area tell them you are looking for an advocate for your child for ieps meetings. it has taken me since Jan. 07 to get the advocate I got for adam for free, he is actually the state director of the STEPS program, but I have sent him every little bit of info on the school and adam since day one including everything from vanderbilt childrens hospital eval that has dx of high functioning autism and the letter from the head of the clinic that evaluated adam hiimself telling the school that adam must go to reg ed to learn from his peers, he also told them that keeping adam in a contained classroom would cause major regression. so for over a yr i have kept this advocate informed of all the wrongs the school has done concerning adams education and not including him in class field trips, keeping him confined from other students just because he has autism. last week when i talked to the advocate and told him adam still has no iep and i need an advocate he told me that he had a pile of info on adam and the school about 15 inches high and he will be at that iep meeting. his specialty is placement. he also has a copy of everything from the last iep meeting that was adjourned the minute the special ed director saw the requests we had written and also added if it was denied we wanted the denial in writing with the exact reason for the denial. but anyways, that is how u get an advocate, do a search in your state for advocates for children with disabilities, www.bridgesforkids.org is a good place for info www.yellowpagesforkids.org is a good place to go and www.thearc.org. oh, and be relentless, i mean relentless! it is the squeaky wheel that gets oiled!
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