iAdvocate - Free Tool for Parents of Children with Disabilities
Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss
Synopsis and Key Points:
iAdvocate application shares and develops strategies with parents of children with disabilities for working collaboratively with a school team to improve childrens education.
Main DigestThe iAdvocate application is a project created by Syracuse University's School of Education, Syracuse University's Parent Advocacy Center, and The Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies.
The goal of the iAdvocate application is to both share and develop specific strategies with parents of children with disabilities for working collaboratively with a school team in order to improve children's education.
The iAdvocate application uses problem-based learning strategies and simulations, as well as providing contextual access resources which build parent's advocacy skills and their knowledge-base. The application gives parents information; yet most importantly, it presents strategies in relation to their educational rights and ensuring their children's needs are met.
The goal of the iAdvocate application is to both share and develop specific strategies with parents for working in collaboration with a school team to improve their children's education and to provide the most meaningful and inclusive educational environment for children with disabilities. The iAdvocate application has four sections:
Strategies: The Strategies section has a collection of approaches parents can use as advocates
Organizations: The Organizations section presents organizations that provide information on inclusive education
Resources: The Resources section lists - and if possible, links to references such as books, articles, web sites, video presentations, and laws
Responses: The Responses section provides simulated interactions such as replies to common statements made by school professionals in regards to services and accommodations for children
The iAdvocate application from Syracuse University is an excellent example of modern advocacy effort, assisting parents to advocate for their own children with disabilities.
The application is clearly the future of successful and useful grants to universities. The application also connects to the Syracuse University Parent Advocacy Center (SUPAC) website, providing additional exchanges of ideas and information.
Professor Alan Foley of the Syracuse University School of Education designed and launched the iAdvocate application to help parents become better advocates for their children with disabilities. It is his hope the application assists parents to become more prepared to work collaboratively with school professionals in order to achieve positive outcomes for their children's education. Professor Foley states, "We hope it can improve access and services for children with disabilities and provide help and support for their parents." Professor Foley plans to create updates for iAdvocate. He also plans to explore and develop additional
Professor Foley incorporated the iAdvocate project into his own classes.
He also worked with a team of graduate students from the Syracuse University School of Education on the project. The students helped to conduct focus group studies involving parents at the Syracuse University Parent Advocacy Center (SUPAC), with the goals of developing both content and a prototype. Professor Foley worked collaboratively with the Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies on the iAdvocate project.
Thomas Bull, regional facilitator for the S3TAIR project, said the iAdvocate application will assist parents of children with disabilities.
S3TAIR is a federal grant-funded state project specifically designed to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. Thomas Bull stated, "iAdvocate is a tool that provides functional strategies, a wide range of resources and straightforward suggestions that allow for parents, teachers and students to understand their rights, even the playing field when working with school districts and design an educational program that is responsive to their input and tailored to meet their specific need."
The iAdvocate application is designed for use with an iPhone. It is free for download on iTunes.
Syracuse University Parent Advocacy Center - www.supac.org/
S3TAIR project - www.s3tairproject.org/
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