Advocacy in Action

By Trish Geraghty


It has almost been 50 years since the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law, but we still have not full actualized the intentions. With tightening budgets, ongoing policy changes, and a growing awareness of the rights of students with disabilities, it’s essential for educators and parents to be empowered and informed advocates. Effective advocacy ensures that students with disabilities receive the appropriate support and services afforded to them by the IDEA In this blog post, we will explore the importance of special education advocacy, highlight key rights and policies, and provide actionable strategies for educators and parents.

The Importance of Special Education Advocacy

Advocacy in special education is vital for several reasons:

Ensuring Equal Access: Advocacy helps ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to educational opportunities. This includes access to appropriate curricula, instructional methods, and necessary accommodations.

Promoting Inclusion: Effective advocacy supports the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education settings, fostering a more inclusive school environment where everyone feels they belong.

Securing Resources: Advocates work to secure the necessary resources and services, such as funding, specialized instructional support, assistive technology, and therapy services, to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.

Protecting Rights: Advocacy safeguards the legal rights of students with disabilities, ensuring compliance with laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Strategies for Effective Advocacy

To be an effective advocate for special education rights, consider the following strategies:

1. Stay Informed
Keep up-to-date with the latest laws, policies, and best practices in special education. Join advocacy groups, attend workshops, and subscribe to newsletters from reputable organizations. Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is a great resource for the latest news and advocacy work. CEC hosts the Special Education Legislative Summit every year and it is truly an amazing learning experience and event!

2. Build Collaborative Relationships
Develop positive relationships with teachers, school administrators, and other members of the IEP team. Collaboration and open communication are key to successful advocacy.

3. Document Everything
Maintain detailed records of all communications, meetings, evaluations, and progress reports. Documentation can be crucial in resolving disputes and ensuring accountability. These is true for all members of the IEP team. Check out Kit to help you, as an educator, streamline the IEP paperwork process and increase collaboration with the entire IEP team.

4. Know Your Rights
Familiarize yourself with the rights of students under IDEA and Section 504. Understanding these rights empowers you to advocate effectively and support your child.

5. Be Persistent and Assertive
Advocacy often requires persistence and assertiveness. Everything we do can be done with kindness. We all want what is best for our kids and need a find a way to work together to support them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, request meetings, and follow up on concerns. Remember, you are advocating for the best interests of the student.


Advocacy for special education rights is a powerful tool for ensuring that students with disabilities receive the education and support they deserve. By staying informed, building collaborative relationships, and knowing their rights, educators and parents can effectively champion the needs of their students and children. Remember, advocacy is not just about navigating the system—it’s about making a meaningful difference in the lives of students with disabilities.

Join the conversation! Share your advocacy experiences and tips in the comments below. Together, we can create a more inclusive and supportive educational environment for all students. For more resources and information on special education, visit Kit for Teams.

Trish Geraghty
Trish Geraghty, an accomplished educational leader with 20+ years of experience, excels in curriculum development, instructional design, and professional development. Her proven track record includes successful support for schools, districts, educators, and students. Committed to ensuring universal access to high-quality learning, Trish is a visionary advocate for inclusive education. Her innovative approach to curriculum development reflects a keen understanding of evolving standards. Trish's transformative influence extends beyond traditional boundaries, actively contributing to the broader advancement of education. A catalyst for positive change, she inspires excellence in others, shaping the future of education through unwavering commitment and visionary leadership.

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