The Informed Advocates Are Here!

Job description for parent advocate: "The Connector"November 18, 2012 marks the kickoff Meet & Greet of the very first cohort for FETA Group  Sacramento, a new study and support group for parents, care providers, and others who are advocating for and with students in special education.

This was an informal gathering to get to know members and discuss the format for the group.

To join the group, there is still time. Contact the FETA Group Sacramento organizer, Angie, for more information.

One of the highlights of the meeting was an an activity that brought to focus the role of an advocate and what members view as their adovacy job descriptions.


Location Updated:

Dear Community,

If you're interested in participating in the "From Emotions to Advocacy (FETA) study and discussion group" for parents and care providers - please join us for a "meet & greet" event:

When?  Sunday, November 18 (3:00pm-4:00pm)
(NOTE: This date was changed from November 25)
Where?  Arthur F. Turner Community Library
1212 Merkley Ave., West Sacramento 95691
Study and Discussion Group

We will be utilizing the book:

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition
- The Special Education Survival Guide
by Peter W. D. Wright, Esq. and Pamela Darr Wright
(ISBN: 978-1-892320-09-4, 338 pages, perfect bound)

Wrightslaw book
This group is facilitated by its participants. We are not sponsored by any outside entities or Wrightslaw. There is no fee to join this group other than the cost of the book. Please provide your own book: http://www.wrightslaw.com/store/feta.html

Contact Angie to RSVP or if you have questions:

FETA Wordle


Reducing Resistance in IEP Meetings with Storytelling

Fall is fast approaching, and it's a time when many parents choose to schedule their IEP meetings. It's critical to go into the meeting prepared mentally. Several days or weeks before the meeting, start thinking about what you are going to present to the team and how you are going to say it. How you say it matters tremendously!

One tip that has been helpful for me at my daughter's IEP meetings is using storytelling to communicate my ideas. When I want to propose new goals or changes in services, rather than just coming out and asking for what I want, I tell her story.

Storytelling is an art that increases engagement. It's a key ingredient in communications to teach and to influence. It's a way of reeling people in. We are taught to use storytelling when trying to get buy-in on ideas in the workplace. Preachers use it. Why not in an IEP meeting where the stakes are high?

Storytelling to Persuade

I came across something to support this idea in the FETA (From Emotions to Advocacy) textbook, "Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy." In Chapter 6, page 50:

"The Five Golden Rules for Negotiators. Rule #3 is storytelling." "Storytelling reduces resistance. Make requests by telling the child's story."

I had never realized that I was using a storytelling approach in my IEP meetings. I just felt that telling my daughter's story made it easier for the IEP team to identify with what my daughter was going through. This was highly effective.


FETA online study forum and local Sacramento study group

Dear Parents, Families, Caregivers, and Community,

If you know of anyone who is advocating for a child in the special education realm, please alert them about this new study group in Sacramento, CA and the online study forum!

In this group, we will learn new things and share our knowledge, tips, and strength to help our children receive the free and "appropriate" public education that they are entitled to. Using the  following text as our guide, we will study the material, hold discussions, and ponder the answers to questions to help us complete the follow up research that we need to do, create strategies, and develop action plans that will work in our unique situations. When you talk about doing something, it's an idea. When you write it down and give it a timeline, it becomes tangible and results will happen!

TEXT:  "Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy - The Special Education Survival Guide, 2nd Edition" by Pam Wright and Pete Wright was published in January 2006 (ISBN: 978-1-892320-09-4, 338 pages, perfect bound, $19.95).  Members will need to obtain their own copy of the text to take part in the group.

"Wrightslaw, From Emotion to Advocacy, The Special Education Survival Guide" by Pam Wright and Pete Wright, founders of the Wrightslaw Website

There are possibilities to hold online study forums for each chapter and also have an in-person study group for local folks. Things are starting to take shape! I have begun writing some study questions as I read through and reflect on each chapter. I could use some help reading through the questions to see if they are clear and if they garner what the authors were trying to teach us. The questions should stimulate follow up action to help each person in their advocacy work. Please check out the TABS at the top of the blog, entitled Section 1, Section 2, and so on... Tell me what you think!

I want to be clear that I am not a teacher who is authorized by Wrightslaw or the authors to teach from this book. I am just a parent who wants to learn and help others as well. Parents helping parents! We learn best when we have others to share our experiences and ideas with.

Contact me via comment on this blog, join this site, or email me at corngie@gmail.com for more information. I look forward to hearing from you.

Please pass on this information.

All the best,