Advocacy

According to a 2015 study published in in Gifted Child Quarterly (April: 108-123), The Advocacy Experience of Parents of Elementary Age, Twice-Exceptional Children, many parents find successfully advocating for their 2e child to be “intimidating and overwhelming.” The study also concluded that “the lack of readily available resources focusing on twice-exceptional children was an obstacle to successful advocacy.” In this area of the 2e Newsletter website, we will provide resources and news aimed at helping parents become effective advocates for their children and to help young people who are twice-exceptional become effective self-advocates.

Parent Advocacy Articles

Self-advocacy Articles

Academic Papers

Seeing and Supporting Twice-Exceptional Learners, Chin-Wen Lee and Jennifer Ritchotte

Other Advocacy Resources

Books

Information on Federal Laws

Websites

Parent Advocacy Organizations

  • Decoding Dyslexia: a parent-led movement with a set of well-defined policy goals. The organization has a presence in every state across the U.S.
  • MidColumbia 2e (MC2e): a grass roots, parent-led advocacy/education group serving the MidColumbia region of Washington State (south-central Washington). The group began two years ago and now has over 40 local families following its Facebook page  
  • TEAM+: a meetup in Alexandria, VA, for school advocacy with the mission of improving services in area schools for 2e kids by sharing resources, providing support for fellow members, and raising their collective VOICES in strategic ways to effect change. (The organizers note that the organization "isn't just for moms, but TEAM+ was a better acronym than TEAP, or TEAMD....")
  • Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy (TECA): a national organization that offers a range of programs and tools for parents of 2e children

Advocacy Training

  • William and Mary Law school five-day Institute for Special Education Advocacy, starting in late July, 2017. It's for experienced advocates, law students, and attorneys. Find out more.
  • Council for Exceptional Children's Special Education Legislative Summit on July 9-12, 2017, Alexandria, Virginia. For educators looking to gain the skills to be more effective advocates for special education. According to CEC: Participants will learn to help make the case for funding, FAPE, and civil rights for students receiving special ed services. Find out more.
  • With Understanding Comes Calm, www.withunderstandingcomescalm.com/services-for-parents
  • Wrightslaw special education law and advocacy programs, ww.wrightslaw.com/speak/schedule .htm

Advocacy News

USING THE WISC-V FOR IDENTIFYING 2E STUDENTS. In a blog entry, psychologist Devon MacEachron urges parents to use a recently published position paper from the National Association for Gifted Children when advocating for their 2e kids. The position paper provides recommended guidelines for using the WISC-V to assess gifted and twice- exceptional children. MacEachron, who was part of the group that drafted the position paper, explains the importance of these guidelines this way: "The Full Scale IQ is out and measures that capture their strengths better are in!" Get the details here.

LDA. SELF-ADVOCACY, ACCOMMODATIONS. A post-doc scientist explains the value of learning self-advocacy and being able and willing to discuss accommodations with teachers and professors. His account covers elementary school through college, and beyond. In an article at the site of Learning Disabilities Association of America, he writes “Self-advocacy is a process that takes time to learn and cultivate over the years, but it is well worth it. We need to teach students with learning disabilities to self-advocate as early as possible.” Find the article at https://goo.gl/uZSF8d.

ENDREW F STRIKES AGAIN. Education consultant Rich Weinfeld served as the expert witness for a 2e student in a case involving the appropriateness of the student’s IEP and whether the local school district should pay for the student’s placement at the private school to which the student’s parents had moved him. According to Weinfeld, “The administrative law judge applied Endrew F throughout and concluded that a student who she had previously ruled was receiving FAPE, was no longer receiving FAPE by the Supreme Court’s Endrew F standards. The result was a decision that the school district must fund a private placement that programs effectively for 2e students.” You may find a copy of the 54-page decision online at https://goo.gl/PsDH15. A discussion of the case begins on page 26; the judge’s orders are on page 53.

ADVOCACY. In 2e Newsletter we sometimes highlight what individuals and groups have done (or can do) to boost awareness of and the rights of twice-exceptional children. A recent issue of The New York Times features an excerpt from a resource the Times publishes called “How to Participate In Politics.” The excerpt, titled “How to Lobby Lawmakers,” echoes and reinforces some of the tips we’ve relayed from @NAGCGIFTED Director of Government and Affiliate Relations William Knudsen. Find the excerpt at https://goo.gl/WczynM and then scroll down to “How to Lobby Lawmakers.” Consider how you might put the tips into action for the benefit of your family and the 2e community!

AN ADVOCACY TOOLKIT FROM UNDERSTOOD.ORG. The website has made available for download the Endrew F. Advocacy Toolkit. It provides parents with talking points to use in advocating for their children and a worksheet for making the most of their child’s IEP.

REACTION OF THE COUNCIL FOR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN TO THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSED BUDGET. The communique from CEC starts out: "The Council for Exceptional Children is disheartened to see that this Administration has made deep cuts to the U.S. Department of Education funding level, funded the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, slashed Medicaid funds, eliminated funding for the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program – the only federal investment in students with gifts and talents, and created a new private school voucher program that takes scarce taxpayer funding away from public schools and jeopardizes the civil right of a free appropriate public education for children and youth with disabilities." www.policyinsider.org/2017/05/presidents-budget-dismisses-needs-of-children-in-this-nation.html

A RECENT BOOK FROM WRIGHTSLAW. Wrightslaw has published Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2016. According to Wrightslaw, the book contains:

  • All key decisions from the Courts of Appeals in 2016
  • Four decisions that were selected as "Cases of the Year for 2016."

REACTIONS TO THE DECISION ON THE ENDREW F. CASE. Writing at Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, an education advocate takes a different view of the recent Supreme Court decision that a FAPE must be more than "de minimis." The advocate writes, "Under the de minimis standard, there was almost nowhere to go but up, and the Court went up only a very little. An 8-0 vote by a Court that is usually sharply divided is a sign that the decision may lack clarity or bite." www.smartkidswithld.org/supreme-disappointment-students-disabilities

Wrightslaw has released information about the recent SCOTUS decision on the Endrew F. case involving the benefit that schools must provide with IEPs. Included in that information is Pete Wright's analysis of the decision. www.wrightslaw.com/blog/endrew-f-us-supreme-court-argument-analysis

ADVOCACY: DECODING DYSLEXIA VIRGINIA. (2e Newsletter, September, 2016)

Is there language like this in the legislation that governs teacher preparation and licensure in your state? “The Department of Education shall collaborate with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to ensure that all teacher preparation programs offered at public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth or otherwise available convey information on the identification of students at risk for learning disabilities, including dyslexia, other language-based learning disabilities, and attention deficit disorder.”

Last February, a group of parent advocates working under the auspices of Decoding Dyslexia Virginia (DDVA) traveled to the state capitol and met with delegates and state senators about dyslexia-related issues. One item of discussion was proposed legislation requiring that aspiring teachers receive information on identifying students with dyslexia and other learning challenges.

Were the advocates successful? A few weeks after the meetings, the language quoted earlier was enacted into law, which will take effect next year. One of the parent advocates, Laurie DuCharme, a subscriber to 2e Newsletter, calls Decoding Dyslexia Virginia a valuable resource for her family. “DDVA has inspired my husband and me to learn so much more and do more so that our two twice-exceptional children may become more,” says DuCharme. “We have been inspired to advocate, educate, and legislate for our children.”

Decoding Dyslexia is a parent-led movement with a set of well-defined policy goals. The organization has a presence in every state across the U.S. Find out more at www.decodingdyslexia.net/home.html.

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