Advocating for your Student
Strategies for meeting the gifted & talented learner’s academic needs will be a unique combination of traditional/non-traditional educational experiences and learning opportunities in the community as well as home. An educational plan will depend upon the learner, the family, and the available resources.
The advocacy process consists of building a working partnership with education professionals, communicating effectively, and preparing, documenting, and implementing a learning plan. Advocacy may be done on an individual or group basis; the processes are similar.
In Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition. (Wright and Wright, 2009), Pam and Pete Wright suggest that an advocate’s responsibilities closely mirror the responsibilities of a project manager. Project managers organize and build a project plan, monitor progress, and ensure the project is completed. Project managers are creative and critical thinkers, use effective and nuanced communication, create alliances, build networks, mitigate obstacles, and resolve conflicts.
“Guides to Advocating for Gifted Children at School” have been developed by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. It is a comprehensive resource to effective and successful advocacy. The advocacy information outlined is applicable to all gifted and talented learners, including 2e. The guides aim to assist parents with the identification of individual goals, awareness of options and resources, knowledge of best practices in gifted and talented education, effective communication techniques, and empower parents in their advocacy efforts.
Build a Working Relationship and Partnership
Preparing for and holding an effective school meeting
Tips for Parents: Advocacy and Working with Your Child’s School
Portfolios: An effective way to present your child to the school
Documentation: Creating an Effective Paper Trail and Managing Documents
Advocacy Rule #1: Write Things Down When They Happen
Creating an Effective Paper Trail
MN Laws that parents have used for gifted & talented services:
ADDitude Article: Behavior Problems at School: A Complete Problem-Solving Guide for Parents
The Ultimate Executive Function Downloadable Guide from ADDitude
A Deep Dive: Effective Advocacy for Gifted and Talented Students from the Davidson Institute
This is a comprehensive but succinct summary of advocacy essentials: assessments, best practices in gifted and talented education, how to formulate a plan, meeting with the school, follow-up to the meeting, and advocacy as an ongoing process.