Educational advocates play a vital role in helping parents and students access academic accommodations. There are many resources that students with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, intellectual delays, and other challenges can utilize. Educational advocates know how to connect these students with the assets available to them, creating a streamlined plan for educational support.
Read on to learn what educational advocates do and how an educational advocate could help you or your child.
What Is an Educational Advocate?
An educational advocate is someone with extensive knowledge about special education programs, 504 Plans, IEPs, and academic support that students can receive. This person educates parents, children and teens about the resources available to them and how to acquire each resource, as needed. Think of an educational advocate as a coach and a cheerleading squad, all in one. They can show you the steps, complete certain tasks on your behalf, and build your confidence through each milestone.
What Educational Advocates Do
Educational advocacy is not a cookie-cutter process. Every student and every family has unique needs. The advocate’s job is to evaluate those needs and determine which accommodations are best suited to address them. Common job duties for educational advocates include:
- Educate parents, caregivers and adults about various programs available to them
- Outline steps to take after a learning disability diagnosis (or autism, ADHD, anxiety, etc.)
- Prepare parents for IEP meetings and 504 Plans
- Coordinate with the client’s neuropsychologist to implement their intervention plan in a school setting
- Accompany caregivers to meetings or speak to the school on the family’s behalf
- Review special education documents and other forms to verify accuracy
- Explain reports to parents so they can better interpret them
- Answer any questions the parent has related to educational support
Educational advocates mostly work with parents, but they may also work with older teens or young adults embarking on a new life transition. For instance, IEPs are limited to school-based accommodations, but 504 Plans cover work accommodations in adulthood. An educational advocate can assist both caretakers and individuals through these circumstances.
Do Educational Advocates Diagnose Learning Disabilities?
Educational advocates do not diagnose learning disabilities. They handle the next step in the journey. The first step involves psychological testing or a neuropsychological evaluation, depending on what the potential diagnosis is. Educational advocates take that diagnosis and the intervention plan provided by the neuropsychologist and translate them to a school setting.
CNLD Testing & Therapy Offers Educational Advocacy in Michigan
CNLD Testing & Therapy offers comprehensive support for parents and students. This includes psychological testing, neuropsychological testing, educational advocacy, executive functions coaching, counseling, and more. One hour of educational advocacy is included with psychological testing, but clients can request additional support.
Approximately 14% of public school students receive some sort of special educational accommodation. As a parent, you want to know why your child is struggling and what you can do about it. CNLD Testing & Therapy will hold your hand through every step so you can create a better quality of life for your family. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, please contact us at (734) 994-9466.