The right to participate in education is protected under state, federal and international legislation. We have a number of resources to help you to promote these rights and succeed in education.
Top 5 tips for getting what you need in pre-school, primary and secondary school
1. Build strong working relationships
Building relationships is a great way to maximise learning outcomes and success in education.
Getting to know your child’s teachers is the best place to start, as well as student support and wellbeing staff. It’s important to have a productive relationship with your child’s teachers, both for you to feel comfortable to check in on a regular basis and for them to be able to raise any concerns with you.
2. Be prepared
From knowing your rights in education to thoroughly researching potential schools, it’s important to be prepared for any conversations with the school about changes which could be made to improve your child’s inclusion.
You and your child (either with your assistance or independently) will be more effective at negotiating education related adjustments if you are both knowledgeable about your child’s vision condition and what they might need to succeed.
3. Speak the same language
Teachers and administrators have a lot of competing pressures they need to address at their school, and they won’t always understand the need for, or the importance of the things your child may need. By understanding what these limitations might be, you can find some common ground.
Schools will also think about what is best for the majority, so finding ways to express your child’s needs in ways that show how they would benefit everyone will help.
4. Model good advocacy and communication for your child
Encourage your child to know their own needs and what should be happening in the classroom and at school generally to support their learning. This will enable them to speak up for themselves in the moment and concerns can be addressed immediately.
Your child will be encouraged by seeing you model good advocacy and communication with their school.
5. Pick your battles
Your child may encounter many barriers throughout their education, and realistically, you will not be able to invest energy into every issue you would like to address.
Advocacy can take a lot of time, energy and persistence, so you should make your choice about where to invest your efforts, thinking about which changes are likely to result in achieving the most impact, and what might be ‘quick wins’ which result in immediate (but not long term) change.
Need more information?
Vision Australia has fact sheets on advocacy in education including:
- Advocacy in education: a general guide
- A comprehensive guide to advocacy in pre-school, primary and secondary education
- A guide to reasonable adjustments in education
- A guide to your child’s legal rights in education
- A guide to promoting your child’s rights in education