Advocating for a Child with Special Needs

Advocating for a child with special needs can feel overwhelming, and at times lonely. While traditional school and social settings are becoming more accommodating for children with special needs, there is still a lot of work to be done. As a parent, you want your child to be seen and treated fairly – but how do you even know where to start?
The first step in advocacy is educating yourself. Learn as much as you can about your child’s strengths, specific disability and their individual needs. Initially, this can improve your understanding, compassion and connection with your child. Understanding what your child needs will help you become an effective partner with other professionals you can work with to provide your child with the support and accommodations that they need.

Once you understand what it is you’re advocating for, utilize the resources around you! Create a team of trusted professionals willing and equipped to support your child. Connect with your child’s healthcare providers, therapists, and educators to develop a plan for your child’s care and education.

This team of professionals provide further insight into the needs of your child and will provide guidance on how to best support them. Building positive relationships with this team will be a tremendous aid in providing wraparound support for your child. Be sure to be in consistent communication so as concerns come up, you have a safe place to be heard and create a plan.

As you navigate through the accommodations your child needs, it’s important to remember that as their parent, you have rights as well. Learn about your rights and resources available to you. If you need a place to start, check out your rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). (

One of the most important reminders is that you’re not alone! Seek out parents in your child’s school system who also have children with special needs. Look for support groups or online communities of parents walking on similar paths. Decade2Connect has consistent parent support groups available. Whatever the avenue, familiarize yourself with the support surrounding you.

Remember that advocacy is an ongoing process, and it can take time to see results. Be patient and persistent, and always keep your child’s needs at the forefront of your advocacy efforts. You are doing an incredible job parenting your child with care!

For additional support for Special Need Therapy, connect with Decade2Connect today!

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!