Parent to Parent of Miami, Inc.
Supporting families for over 25 years
Advocacy is an essential component to leading your child to success! The following post will help you understand what advocacy is and how you can get started.
According to dictionary.com, advocacy is “the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending”. In your case, you are advocating for your child- and so are we! In the years to come, you will learn many ways in which you can become an active influence in your child’s life and academic endeavors. I truly believe that the first step toward that is through advocating for your child. Ultimately you are an expert in your child. You, better than anyone, knows his skills, abilities, strengths and needs. This knowledge will become an excellent conduct to leading your child to success and to challenge him in a way that will bring him closer to the goals you and those in his team have prepared for him.
Parent to Parent of Miami, Inc. is an organization created and guided by parents like you. The idea was to aid families of students with disabilities with the process of obtaining services needed and understanding the educational system which can be very confusing at times. Need help with IEP and SPED jargon? Don’t just google it on your own! Parent to Parent of Miami, Inc. can help with that. In fact, more than 25 years later, parents all over the county are still receiving the information they need to become their child’s number one advocate. Their website contains a great deal of information including resources, workshops, training and motivational stories about other families and how they learned to advocate for their children.
Get acquainted with their website (which has been hyperlinked to the featured image at the top of this post) and read up on some of the free information they have available and you will feel better equipped to advocate for your child!
Since I am located in sunny South Florida this post is mostly about Parent to Parent of Miami, Inc. If you are from another state and would like information about a Parent to Parent organization in your area, click on the picture below and you will find the link to Parent to Parent USA which can better guide you to an advocacy support system in your area. Happy researching!
Why should you read through the following article? What’s in it for you? Read on!
As a high school student, I often dreaded the idea of having to write research papers. I found them boring and wordy. Reading research may not be the easiest thing to do but it’s absolutely worth it- if you choose the right one that is. It wasn’t until I entered college and was forced to practice, and later became a teacher for students with disabilities, that I realized the importance of staying informed and up-to-date with information that could help us make more educated decisions and understand essential topics better. For instance, you may have to put up with very long run-on sentences like the one I just used and, although, perhaps a difficult task, researching information will allow you to make more informed decisions. I love finding science-based and research-based data. I guess you could say I’m a bit geeky! But information, especially research-based one never hurt anyone, right?
Okay. That was my disclosure for the day. On to the actual article!
The following information is factual information that could help society make better conclusions and assessments for interventions and decision-making. What role does family play in student achievement? A very important one! I have included this link unto Gradeschool Brains because I find it quite valuable to understand the variables that could play a role in children academic, social and emotional success. This is essentially even more important for our students with disabilities as they already have certain shortcomings in the areas of communication, behavior and social interactions among others. This website provides analyzed data regarding family research and the impact that family has on society. I find this to be critical information to share, as the values that we hold as a family help our little ones grow up with values of their own. This website also provides access to an extensive library of findings and scholarly articles and journals to help you stay up to date with the research. Here I have included some research briefs to help you get started with your search for information. Simply click the links to read the files posted. Feel free to leave comments and ask questions. Begin your research quest and find more about the impact your family has on your child.
Here’s a great resource to add to your library!
This video provides a preview to the Starabella series. Starabella is a series of books for children between the preschool years and second grade. It is a series about autism and acceptance. This is a great addition to your library as you search to explain Autism Spectrum Disorders to your child or teach her about accepting others who may be different.
Also, these series are based on the real life of a young girl growing up with autism who used music to overcome her anxieties and fears. The series were created by a family involved in caring for the girl who is now a successful woman.
I’m looking forward to reading these myself and adding them to our classroom library! If you would like to know more about the family who put this series together here is a link to aid you in your quest.
Meet the Fialco family
Laughter, smiles and rushing feet; maybe some hopping and skipping. Not many words. My students were excited to walk into the playground just as we do every day after lunch. Following bubbles from the bubble machine, going up the tunnel and down the slide (over and over and over again), and getting tickled are some of their favorite activities to do in the playground. However, something happened today. Something that helped me realize I need to do more outside of my classroom.
As one of my students flapped his hands towards the trees—as he typically does since he enjoys the sensory input he receives from watching the branches move with the wind—a Kindergartener of typical development saw him, pointed at him, and laughed as he showed his friends. My first reaction was to become upset, very upset. My students don’t understand what it is to be bullied or to be made fun of because they’re different. They don’t understand social situations, whether positive or negative. My students have Autism…
I do not take situations like this lightly; if I don’t interfere, who else will? The anger I felt was quickly replaced by understanding. Many of our general population students have not had an opportunity to interact with our students with Autism. They have not been explained what it is to have a disability or what it is to ‘behave’ different. And this was a Kindergartener for goodness sake! As I walked toward the kid, I wanted to sit him by me and explain all I know about Autism. I wanted to talk to him about the big responsibility he has of showing respect, empathy and understanding. I wanted to let him know that he can make a difference by simply showing kindness and acceptance. So I did. I walked to him and was overtaken by a great desire to teach. My words were simple and quick. Enough to let him know I noticed him. Although he was a little scared to see me coming toward him- my demeanor might have been a bit scary- I could see I sparked some interest in him. That’s all I wanted; to plant a seed of curiosity so that they may continue to be haunted by the thought that everyone is different and that different is okay.
My students didn’t notice; but I did. It’s about time I make a difference outside of my classroom. It’s time to teach awareness and kindness to the little ones I pass by every day and ignore because I am so busy supervising my students with disabilities. Perhaps I can make a difference one student at a time, just as I did today. Or perhaps, I will get together with other Special Education teachers in the Autism Academy at my school, we’ll plan a simple informative session we can teach to grade-school students about how to treat students with disabilities; perhaps this will change their lives and they’ll grow up to be thoughtful, caring, kind and accepting people who treat everyone fairly… One can only dream.. and take action! Today was an excellent day!