by Analisa L. Smith, 2nd Vice President, Board of Directors

If your child has a learning disability, now is the perfect for you to become an advocate for the needs of that child. Did you know that you are your child’s best advocate? And sometimes, you may be her/his only advocate.

Many people often associate being an advocate as being active at the political level. Being a voice for what your child needs to be successful does not mean, necessarily, that you must discuss issues with your politicians. What it does mean is that you work to make a difference. It all begins with just one person. Many parents often want to advocate for their child but may not know how to start.

Here are a few ways you can get started at being an advocate for your child or becoming a better one…

  • Be able to define what a learning disability is and understand more about how it affects your child personally.
  • Work with teachers and family members (and community members as needed) on issues that require immediate attention for your child.
  • Review laws about disabilities within your state and at the local level. You can review some articles at LDA’s Legislation Page to learn about legislative updates.
  • Join your state LDA affiliate. State LDA affiliates are a great way to access localized resources, experts, and events.

Other ideas to use and learn more about…

  • If your child is a middle school or high school student, it is important that he or she can self-advocate. An article to learn more about this is What is Advocacy?
  • LDA also has a parent’s guide available to you to help you know what questions to ask and to help you help your child to prepare for transitioning from high school to the college student.
  • Move forward to teach others how to become effective advocates for their children.

Your state LDAs are grassroots organizations founded by parents like you. Join us as we continue to be a mobilization force to advocate for individuals with learning disabilities.

Dr. Smith serves on the national board of directors of the Learning Disabilities Association of America as the 2nd Vice-President and is president of its state affiliate in South Carolina. Smith has worked for over 20 years in public and private education and is currently an education consultant and a distance education professor.

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