Q: How does a parent of higher-order multiples advocate for his or her child?

A: During your high risk pregnancy and your children’s experience in the NICU, you learned how to advocate for the needs of your family. You use the same skills you developed during those challenging times to advocate for a child facing physical or developmental challenges. As a parent of multiples know how different two children, even from same family and the same age can be. Even identical multiples often major differences in their needs and the challenges they may encounter. You also know your child better than anyone else, so you may notice needs that are not as apparent to someone else.

In most families, parents are the one adult constant making them ideal advocates for their children whether advocating for medical care and treatments, special education services and accommodations, or any other needs that a child has. To do this, first, become an expert by doing the research. Keep accurate and well organized records. Understand the situation and provide documentation that explains why what you are asking for will benefit your child. Although being diplomatic may not always be easy to do, this approach can is more likely to achieve your goals than being defensive of combative. For example, if you have a meeting with school personnel, assure them you want to work as a team to help your child be successful. This develops a positive atmosphere, rather than a divisive relationship; however, if a situation arises that you cannot resolve, you may want to consult with an outside advocate to work with you. These advocates have expertise in special education law, IDEA, etc… If the situation involves a legal matter, attorneys who also specialize in these areas can also be consulted.

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