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9/23/2018  |   12:00 PM - 2:00 PM   |  Emerald Ballroom I/II

Advocacy & IDEA: Protecting the Parent-School Relationship

What makes a parent a successful advocate for the child with a disability? What helps a professional understand what a parent is going through? Legal protection is available for parents of children with disabilities; sadly not all parents are aware of this. This presentation offers both parents and professionals the basics to successfully work with schools for their child’s educational future. Protection of the parent/school relationship is the most important aspect of successfully advocating for a child with disabilities. Professionals can easily educate parents in this model of parent/school relationship building without jeopardizing their position. IDEA protects parents, it’s up to the parents to protect their relationship with school personnel. This training covers the basic principles of IDEA by providing understandable explanations of this law that protect children who have disabilities. It truly hits on protecting the parent school relationship because as we know once a parent becomes defensive and argumentative the meeting can go bad. This training helps parents to understand who the members of an IEP team are and that they deserve to be heard as the parent does. It strongly focuses on working as a team and leaving demands at home. This is an advantage for professionals because they receive the training from a parent perspective. This session does not stop at IDEA, it also covers 2 other laws that protect children with disabilities in the public setting. Both ADA and the Rehabilitation Act will be discussed in this session.

  • Participant will gain basic understanding of IDEA and advocacy from a parents perspective
  • Participants will leave with a better understanding of how to build relationships with school personnel.
  • Participants will have a solid basis of the law so that they can actively be part of the IEP meeting.


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Andrea Marwah (POC,Primary Presenter), sjakiddos@gmail.com;
Andrea Marwah received her BA degree from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Since her daughter was diagnosed with hearing loss in 2002, she has taken a special interest in educating parents and professionals on matters concerning ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) - special education rights, and advocacy for students who have disabilities. Andrea presents on both local and national levels on matters pertaining to advocacy and IDEA. She is employed by Illinois School for the Deaf Outreach, is in her ninth year as President of Illinois Hands & Voices and is an IDEA liaison for the Guide By Your Side Program where she provides unbiased information and one-on-one advocacy and IDEA support to families who have children with hearing loss. She served on the Advisory Commission on Disabilities. Andrea lives in Naperville with her husband Ajay and 3 children Samantha, Julia and Andrew.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exists.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exists.