Resources for Parents in Advocating for Children

The BC Coalition of Parent Advisory Councils has a terrific resource for parents:

A step-by-step guide to resolution advocacy for parents, who want to become better advocates for their children. This guide gives information on:

  • details how the school system works,
  • outlines parent and students rights and responsibilities,
  • provides strategies for advocating for children, and
  • supports student self-advocacy.

The school district has “steps for problem solving” as part of Bylaw #4:


A recent presentation at the BCCPAC Northern Regional Conference by Beverly Zorn, a local consultant, contained some terrific information about navigating special needs in the school system. Some information included:

A Compass for Successful School System Survival Strategies:

  1. Learn the culture of the school
  2. Know when and who to contact and develop a relationship
  3. Learn the roles
  4. Find your advocate
  5. Plan transition
  6. Be visible
  7. Services
  8. Show positive approach
  9. Bureaucracy
  10. Individual Education Planning (IEP)

and Keep Your Cool – Be Successful:

  1. Keep your cool: Your credibility and reputation for being cooperative is very important. Stay calm and be patient.
  2. Don’t get into arguments or debates. The goal is to make a difference. There is more than one way to make your point. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
  3. Don’t rule out the impossible. Your child is capable of being very different when away from home.
  4. Don’t get personal. Don’t bring your personality to the meeting table.
  5. Keep your body language quiet. Don’t threaten. A professional attitude will work wonders. Look to your advocate.
  6. Don’t agree with things you’re not sure about and don’t rush your decisions. Take a break…

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