First 5 LA’s Five Ways to Advocate for Your Child with Special Needs

As a parent, you know your child best. And if you have concerns (or know) that your child may have special needs, you are their first and best advocate for getting help and resources. To make sure you get what they need to succeed, here are ways to be an advocate on your own at the doctor’s office, at school and beyond:

Explore developmental screenings. Early identification of possible developmental challenges means early support, which helps children with special needs reach their full potential. If you have concerns about your child’s speech, learning, behavior, hearing or other issues, ask his or her pediatrician questions and discuss getting early developmental screenings. Because First 5 LA has made supporting access to developmental screenings and services a priority, it has provided some funding for Help Me Grow and invested in early identification and intervention programs for Autism and other developmental delays. Get information and resources on ways to help your children reach their full potential through early intervention.

Do your research and ask questions. Learn as much as you can about your child’s special needs. Conduct research online, speak to other parents and don’t be afraid to ask questions about further screenings or resources. Speak to your child’s school or childcare facility about ways to address and meet their educational, physical, social and emotional needs; make a list of questions and concerns; learn about recommended educational or care practices; and offer suggestions.

Understand your child’s rights. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for all children. Your child may qualify for special services starting in preschool.

Find community. Connect with other parents who have children with similar challenges to share information and experiences. You can find parent groups for children with special needs in Los Angeles County. There are also organizations like Special Needs Network, Inc. that offer opportunities to connect with others and address the needs of underserved families struggling with raising a child with developmental disabilities.

Communicate, and build a network. A big part of advocating is communicating — from talking with your child about school to being in contact with their educators, counselors and therapists, or talking with other parents about strategies that might be helpful. Building relationships and a supportive network of trusted people increases the opportunities for your child’s success.

January 2021 Amazing Activities

January 2021 Amazing Activities

January 2021 Amazing Activities What is a goal for this year that you and your child can commit to achieving? January is National Hobby Month! What is a hobby your child can start this month? Do 15 sit-ups with your child! Trivia Day! What’s a random or fun fact you...

January 2021 Books

January 2021 Books

January 2021 Books January 18th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Learn about how this leader changed the course of the civil rights movement with these books… I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher...

COVID-19 Vaccine Update: Questions and Answers

COVID-19 Vaccine Update: Questions and Answers

COVID-19 Vaccine Update: Questions and Answers With recent, record highs of infections and deaths in California and the U.S. from COVID-19, the pandemic is far from over. But the recent approval and beginning of distribution of COVID-19 vaccines now offer hope that...

Beyond Pandemic Survival Mode: Feeling the Feelings

Beyond Pandemic Survival Mode: Feeling the Feelings

Beyond Pandemic Survival Mode: Feeling the Feelings We have looked for silver linings, counted blessings and tried to feel grateful. In the midst of adversity, instability and losses, we have worked to stay as positive as possible. In experiencing collective trauma...

COVID-19: Latest From Health Authorities

COVID-19: Latest From Health Authorities: The State of California’s COVID-19 Resource Page L.A. County Responds: Confronting COVID-19 L.A. County Department of Public Health: Coronavirus Center of Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus 211 L.A. County Resource...

Valentine’s Day Crafts and Recipes

Valentine’s Day Crafts and Recipes

Valentine’s Day Crafts and Recipes Show your love for family and friends with easy homemade gifts to make for Valentine’s Day. Upcycled mosaic collages are a great way to recycle paper into something creative and beautiful (and teach about colors and sorting!)....

2021 Healthy New Year Calendar

2021 Healthy New Year Calendar

2021 Healthy New Year Calendar As a parent, keeping up with your own health needs may take a back seat to caring for everyone else in the family. This calendar provides reminders and resources to help everyone in the family stay healthy: January: Mental Wellness Month...

Translate