Advocate, Advocate, Advocate! [Vlog]

In this Vlog I answer two questions I received from our CHADD Parent group:

1. How should I support my daughter in a school setting with dealing w/ teachers who don't understand her?

2. How would you engage with teachers or staff at school to work with your kid?

If your child has ever said, "That teacher hates me," or "She's super strict and not fair," or, "I swear I turned in those missing assignments," then this video is full of tips that will help you, your child, and their teacher to get on the same page.


One of the main skills I work with my students on is self-advocacy. Developing skill and the habit of asking for what they need, and asking the adults around them for help is really challenging and often met with resistance.

That's to be expected, and it's OK. You can help your child take baby steps toward becoming comfortable and consistent with communicating their needs. Here's the process I take when I work with my students (and the tips I cover in this video):

1. Get to know the teacher. Send an email to schedule a brief informal chat/meet to discuss:

  • What is their style of teaching?

  • What are their expectations for students?

  • What is a reliable system for tracking classwork/homework/grades?

  • What systems does your child need to succeed in their class?

  • How focused/engaged is your child in class?

  • On a scale of 1-10, how much does your child comprehend the subject?

  • What type of accommodations do they offer?

2. Send a follow up email to the teacher:

  • Keep it super short and use bullet points.

  • Make a list of a few of your child's needs.

  • Re-send in a week or two if you don't get a reply.

3. Help your child self-advocate via email. Make sure your child emails/messages their teacher directly when they need:

  • Clarification on a concept/assignment/policy.

  • An extension on a deadline.

  • To make up a quiz or assignment.

  • To advocate for what they need in class in order to succeed.

  • To ask their teacher how they can improve their grade/performance.

  • To schedule an in-person meeting at school.

4. Be someone your child can come to to express how they feel:

  • Don't be quick to react or tell your child how to feel. Simply hold space and listen without judgement.

  • Let your child know that you want to understand how they feel; validate their emotions when they express them.

  • Ask your child what steps they can take to make things better/solve the problem.

  • Don't expect change overnight, baby-steps work!

These are great habits to practice whether your child has a rocky or a great relationship with their teacher. Remember, there's more than one side to each story, so don't take your child's word for things. Trust but verify, keep an open line of communication, and encourage your child to advocate for themselves. They'll soon realize that advocacy and honesty is one of their best success tools!