• Don’t yell. Drop your voice when you feel anger.
  • If the other party seems to be acting in good faith, respond in-kind.
  • Focus on how to get your partner(s) to do what you think they need to do.
  • Never threaten anything you are not fully prepared to carry out successfully.
  • Imagine yourself as the advocate for someone else’s child.


  • Keep an open mind
  • Locking down invites resistance.
  • Dialogue invites creativity.
  • “Model” what partnership looks like.
  • You can set a time limit on trying new ideas and then review for success.
  • Ask the student what he or she thinks may work.


  • Flexibility in HOW a problem gets solved is not the same as WHETHER it gets solved.
  • Not everything is worth going to war on.
  • Ask: is this my issue or my child’s?
  • What if you hear: “We’d love to but we don’t have that service”? Response: “Then WE agree then that the service is needed. Tell me how we are going to go about getting it.”


  • Even if you remember what people said, you need to be able to PROVE it.
  • Maintain records, letters, correspondence, and notes written at the time events occurred that show what transpired.
  • Get organized. Create a workable filing system—one you can keep up.
  • Best Practice: You may never need it, but paper provides evidence if needed.
  • Document (IN WRITING): important things that happened, requests to the district, your responses and district responses phone calls and replies.
  • Send a positive, reasonable, factual written note summarizing phone calls and that creates a record of what transpired.
  • Demonstrate: 1) appreciation 2) reason for call 3) disability-related 4) a history of problem


  • Help educators understand your child’s disability.
  • Keep it SHORT. Keep it SIMPLE.
  • Create an outline that includes symptoms and the strategies that work.
  • Include your expert to help you.
  • ASK: what will we do to support the team’s understanding so that my child’s needs are met?
  • Learn about rights and responsibilities in the law: Study. Attend workshops. Use good books.
  • Call your local Parent Training and Information Center (409.898.4684) for assistance and resources.

From DREDF, dredf.org