I am new at all this special education stuff. What I have learned I have learned I learned from this bb. I live in Missouri and was wondering how do you go about finding an advocate. I know absolutly nothing about how to do it.
First and foremost... VERY CAREFULLY. You can research with groups like the LDA (Learning Disabilities Association) among many. Here in CA there are groups like TASK and others as well. You need to be very careful to not leap at the first one you meet, and be thorough in your investingation and interviews. Technically, you can even ask your district to provide you with a list, but many would be leary to even consider looking at a list the district is reccomending. You can check with your pediatrician. Talk with other parents and see if they know anyone. Do some digging on the www and see what you come up with. There are many types of advocates. Some are high dollar, others use a sliding scale. You will find others that are volunteer, most likely parents of ld children who have been through the ringer who have learned the ropes and help others... Anyway, there are lots of opportunities to locate advocates, but finding the right one for your child is another story.
When you interview an advocate, try to eliminate addressing your needs, and be specific about your child. A true advocate will be someone who will fight for your child, regardless of you or the district. Choose wisely.
Here is a link to the PTI groups in all 50 states. Some chapters are very good, some are rather mediocre and more tan a couple are completely useless. You will have to contact the one in your area and determine which type you have. These do not charge for their services, and are comprised of parents of special ed kids who have received training in Sped law and are paid by the Feds to assist parents in obtaining FAPE.