The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
December 17, 2003

Issue - 240
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

The Art of Writing Letters

Assertiveness & Effective Advocacy

Preventing Burnout in People Who Help Us - and Ourselves

Coming Soon! New Issue of The Beacon

Put Wrightslaw Training on Your
To-Do List

Subscription and Contact Info

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Happy holidays from Pete, Pam, Debra and Traci at Wrightslaw. It's time to take a break and relax for the season.

Highlights: The art of writing letters; assertiveness and effective advocacy; preventing burnout in people who help us - and ourselves; new issue of The Beacon; put Wrightslaw training on your To-do List for the new year.

Wrightslaw is ranked #1 in education law, special education law, and special education advocacy. (2003 Alexa rankings)

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter is free - please forward this issue or the subscription link to your friends and colleagues so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. We appreciate your help! Download newsletter

1. The Art of Writing Letters

"A friend loaned me From Emotions to Advocacy to help me write an effective letter for my child's file. She explained why a letter is better than talking with the principal. Now there is documentation of my discussions with the teachers and our agreement that my child will receive appropriate homework assignments."

"So, I decided to order your books as a gift for myself!"

When parents fire off a letter to the school, they are usually in the middle of a crisis that involves their child. They feel helpless and anxious. They want to DO SOMETHING. They may be trying to right a wrong or protect their child from harm.

In The Art of Writing Letters, you learn two approaches to letter writing, the Blame Approach and the Story-Telling Approach. You learn the differences between business letters and therapeutic letters - and why you should never send therapeutic letters to the school.

Before you send a strongly worded letter to the school, you need to keep several things in mind.

* After send a letter to the school, it is out of your hands forever. You can never change it!

* Schools are bureaucracies. Your letter will be read by strangers.

* Your reader will not wade through a long letter in hopes that you included a valuable nugget of information

* Your your letter is a personal statement about you and your situation. What do you say about yourself when you write an angry, threatening, or demanding letter?

Learn about "The Art of Writing Letters," the #1 article in November and December.

You will also want to read our article about how to write a Letter to the Stranger. This article tells a moving, compelling story.

Learn about Paper Trails and Letter Writing.

2. Assertiveness and Effective Advocacy

In this short article, advocate Marie Sherrett describes joys and challenges of parent advocacy. To be a good advocate, you need to be aware of your interpersonal style. What category do you fall into?

* Pacifists or those who gets things done;
* Clinging vines or parent advocates;
* Silent victims or fighters;
* Dreamers or crusaders;
* Waiters or initiators;
* Bombshells or assertive parents;
* Appeasing compromisers or action heroes.

Read Assertiveness and Effective Advocacy

Learn about Effective Parent Advocacy.

3. Preventing Burnout in the People Who Help Us - and Ourselves

"I worry that the people in the system who are helping me and our kids will get burned out and quit - which is the last thing we want to see!"

"So, having discovered how much it cheers and reinvigorates me when I get thank you notes from clients or others I've helped, I've started a campaign to spread the cheer. It takes just a few minutes of time and ..."

Read Preventing Burnout in People Who Help Us - And Ourselves by advocate and educational consultant Meredith Warshaw.


4. Coming Soon! New Issue of The Beacon

The Beacon: The Journal of Special Education Law and Practice is a multi-disciplinary electronic journal of special education law and practice published by Harbor House Law Press.

The Beacon publishes articles and essays for attorneys, advocates and others who are interested in special education law and practice. Each issue focuses on a theme and includes practical and theoretical articles.

This issue of The Beacon includes articles by attorneys, an advocate, a speech by the Secretary of Education, and an excerpt from Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, the new book from Harbor House Law Press. Learn about changing educational standards, reading, research, and assessments, and the No Child Left Behind Act.

Previous issues dealt with mediation and negotiation, documents, and expert witnesses. You can read these issues in the Beacon Archives.

You may subscribe to The Beacon from the Harbor House Law site.

Learn more about The Beacon. More free newsletters about special education legal issues.

5. Put Wrightslaw Training on Your To-do List for the New Year

Wrightslaw training programs focus on four areas: special education laws, rights & responsibilities; how to use the bell curve to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and tactics & strategies for effective advocacy.


Our Winter schedule includes programs in:

January 30-31: Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Boot Camp)
February 17: Jefferson City, MO
February 20: Skokie IL
February 24: Indianapolis, IN
February 28: Troy, MI
March 26-27: Manchester, NH (Boot Camp)

Yes, we are coming to the West Coast! In April, we visit Alaska where we will do Boot Camps in Juneau (April 8-9) and Anchorage (April 13-14). We will be in Sacramento for a two-day special ed law and advocacy Boot Camp on July 17-18.

For information about these and other programs that will be held over the next several months, please check our Seminars & Training page.

We are scheduling programs for Fall 2004 and 2005. If you are interested in bringing Pete & Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars.


6. Subscription & Contact Info

The Special Ed Advocate
is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Subscribers receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books.

Law Library Seminars & Training
Advocacy Library Yellow Pages for Kids
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Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: http://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletter@wrightslaw.com


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