How to Become a Special Education Advocate in 2022
If you’re reading this, you or someone you know has likely been affected by developmental disabilities in some way. Maybe you have a child with autism or a sibling with down syndrome, or maybe you just want to help however you can. Whatever your reason, becoming a special education advocate is a great way to make positive changes in the lives of those who need it most.
So how does one become an advocate? This blog post will outline the steps needed to become an effective and successful special education advocate in New Jersey. But before we get started, let’s first answer the question: what is advocacy?
Advocacy is defined as the act of speaking up in support of someone or something. When it comes to special education, advocacy can take many forms. It can be as simple as educating yourself and others about the laws and rights that protect students with disabilities. It can be attending school board meetings and speaking up for the needs of special education students. Or it can be working on legislative initiatives at the local, state, or federal level.
Regardless of its form, advocacy is vital to ensuring that all students with disabilities have access to the quality education they deserve. Now, let’s learn how to become a special education advocate in New Jersey.
Educate Yourself on Existing Special Education Laws
The first step is to educate yourself about the laws governing special education in the state. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law that provides for the education of students with disabilities. In New Jersey, this law is implemented through the Special Education Approval and Review Process (SEARP). SEARP is a state-level process that ensures schools provide appropriate services to students with disabilities.
It’s important to note that IDEA and SEARP are just two of the many laws and regulations governing special education in New Jersey. There are also state statutes, regulations, and local district policies. That’s why educating yourself about the laws and regulations governing special education in your state is essential.
Reach Out to Your Local Districts
Once you’ve educated yourself about the laws, the next step is to find out how these laws are being implemented in your local school districts. The best way to do this is to contact your district’s special education office and set up a meeting. This will allow you to ask questions and learn about the services provided to students with disabilities in your district.
After you’ve met with your district’s special education office, the next step is to start attending school board meetings. This is a crucial way to stay up to date on what’s happening in your district and to make your voice heard on important issues. School board meetings are also a great way to meet other advocates and learn about advocacy opportunities in your community.
Get Involved in Legislative Initiatives
Last but not least, get involved in legislative initiatives at the local, state, or federal level. This is critical to ensure that the laws and regulations governing special education are followed and that students with disabilities receive the necessary services.
Choose The Deron School
The Deron School offers a state-approved private school program and services tailored to your child’s needs. If you believe that your child would benefit from our wide array of resources and services, don’t hesitate to contact us with any admission inquiries.