Why an Advocate


Why an Advocate?

Nine years ago, I was terrified by the thought of my daughter entering kindergarten. What support would she need? How do I put her on a bus with kids grade 12 and under by herself? How will they manage her Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and impulsivity that I was not yet ready to medicate? Did the staff have training in sensory processing? I was terrified of the entire idea. Luckily for me, I had great early intervention support from the Intermediate Unit (IU), and they set me up with an educational advocate. I had no idea what one was, but I was eager to learn how it could help my situation and concerns. Fast forward a few years, and I left the education field to become an advocate myself.  

What does an educational advocate do, exactly? Well, we do many things, but most importantly, we help you understand what YOUR rights and YOUR responsibilities are regarding your child’s special education. We help you understand what all the timelines are and what the acronyms mean. We can assist you in preparing for the Individual Education Plan ( IEP) or 504 Plan meeting itself, so you will understand what to expect. We help you find your voice and teach you to become your child’s best advocate. In addition to all those very important things, we’re to help you with many additional things. The importance of assistive technology and how it can increase independence, helping you understand the many transitions that your child will go through up to and including transitioning into adulthood, Medicaid and Medicare, waivers, The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR,) alternatives to guardianship, and so much more! 

The Arc Erie County is, in my opinion, one of the best-kept secrets in Erie County! As of 1.1.2022, we are under the umbrella of the Achieva Family of Organizations. This allows us to support families of children and adults with any and all disability issues! You can reach me at wwojtecki@achieva.info for more information. I look forward to meeting you!
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