Advocating for Your Child and Family


This topical guide will introduce you to important books, videos, and information resources available from the EI Clearinghouse and other sources.

Contact us via online form or by phone (1-877-275-3227) to request a resource listed below (or ask your local public librarian). Note that some videos may be viewed online, and journal titles will take you to the publisher’s homepage.

mom and child


The art of advocacy : a parent’s guide to a collaborative IEP process
Charmaine Thaner
C. Thaner, 2015
This book shares how to be a more effective advocate for your own child.
Call#: HV 40 .T3671 2015

Case studies in building equity through family advocacy in special education : a companion volume to Meeting families where they are
Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg
Teachers College Press, 2021
This book traces the advocacy journeys of 12 caregivers across a range of racial, ethnic, social, disability, economic, and family identities. The stories reflect the unique lives, histories, and needs of each family, as well as the different approaches they employ to meet the needs of their children.
Call#: LC 4031 .O152 2021

The complete IEP guide : how to advocate for your special ed child
Lawrence Siegel
NOLO, 2020
This book includes eligibility rules and assessments; working with outside experts; developing your child’s ideal educational program; preparing for and attending IEP meetings, resolving disputes with school districts, and more.
Call#: KF 4209.3 .S57 2020

Dyslexia Advocate : How to advocate for a child with dyslexia within the public education system
Kelli Sandman-Hurley
Jessica Kingsley, 2016
This straightforward guide provides the essential information for parents and advocates to understand US law and get the right educational entitlements for a child with dyslexia. Using case studies and examples, this book demonstrates clearly how to apply the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to the unique requirements of a dyslexic child.
Call #: LB 1050.5 .S2179 2016

The everyday advocate: how to stand up for your autistic child
Areva Martin
New American Library, 2010
A nationally recognized autism advocate provides step-by-step instructions to parents raising and advocating for a child with autism, and explains how to safeguard the rights of their special-needs children both in and out of school.
Call#: KF 4209.3 .M3791 2010

The Everything Parent’s guide to Special Education: A complete Step by Step Guide to Advocating for your child with Special needs
Amanda Morin
Adams Media, 2014
Children with special needs who succeed in school have one thing in common– their parents are passionate and effective advocates. Morin helps you learn how to evaluate, prepare, organize, and get quality services, no matter what your child’s disability.
Call#: LC 3981 .M8253 2014
Also available as an eBook

How to advocate successfully for your child : what every parent should know about special education law
Greer Gurland
Gurland Education Law Group, 2016
Written by a parent and special education attorney, this book provides information on eligibility, IEPs, 504 plans, documentation, mediation, due process, and advocacy.
Call#: KF 4209.3 .G963 2016

Introducing advocacy : the first book of speaking up : a plain text guide to advocacy
John Tufail
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007
This book is written for people with disabilities who want to develop advocacy skills for themselves and their peers or partners. With a minimum of jargon, this gives readers basic theories and practices of different types of advocacy, including campaign and citizen advocacy, crisis or intervention advocacy, volunteer and non-directed advocacy as well as tips on planning circles, health complaints advocacy and self-advocacy.
Call#: HV 40 .T9141 2007

Special education law and policy : from foundation to application
Jacqueline Rodriguez & Wendy Murawski
Plural Publishing, 2022
This book provides a framework for understanding and implementing the law as it applies to students with disabilities and their families.
Call#: KF 4209.3 .R63 2022

Team up for your child : a step-by-step guide to working smarter with doctors, schools, insurers, and agencies
Wendy Low Besmann
Melton Hill Media, 2008
Getting services for a child with behavioral health needs-from ADHD to autism to psychiatric and developmental problems-can be overwhelming. This is a step-by-step guide to working smarter with medical, behavioral health, and educational professionals.
Call#: WS 107.5 .R5 B555 2008


Knowing Your Rights And Advocating For Your Child
Early CHOICES, 2022
This video discusses the importance of knowing your rights as a family in early intervention and beyond in order to advocate for your child & family. This is video 2 of a 5-part series co-sponsored by Early CHOICES, Family Matters, and the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse.


Family Matters Parent Training & Information Center
Family Matters provides disability-related information, referrals, telephone consultation, parent trainings, a lending library, and more for families of students and adults with disabilities. Live and online conferences, workshops, and other events are available. Family Matters serves all Illinois counties except Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will.

Family Resource Center on Disabilities
The Family Resource Center on Disabilities provides parents of children with disabilities with information, training, and assistance through workshops, phone trainings, and community outreach. FRCD serves Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendal, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties in Illinois.

Equip for Equality
Established in 1985, Equip for Equality is a nationally recognized, private, not-for-profit organization that serves as a legal advocate for people with disabilities and supports families in their efforts to advocate for their children with disabilities. Their Project LEAP (Launching Equity in Access to Preschool) provides families of children under age three with information about early intervention and advocacy services to help get started with EI.

Start Early
Our policy and advocacy work is deeply rooted in our home state of Illinois, where we seek to shape the state’s early childhood system through legislative, administrative and grassroots advocacy.

Illinois Hands & Voices
This parent-driven, non-profit organization supports families with children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing without a bias around communication modes or methodologies.


Exceptionality, 30(3): 157-172
The Meaning and Nature of Parental Advocacy in the Early Years
Kristen Schraml-Block & Michaelene Ostrosky (2021)
This article describes a study that explored the meaning and advocacy experiences of caregivers of infants and toddlers with delays or disabilities by interviewing family members who participate in early intervention.

Young Exceptional Children, 25(3), 158-166
Using the EI/ECSE Standards to Inform Families’ Expectations and Advocacy Efforts
Chelsea Guillen, et al. (2022)
This article demonstrates how the Early Intervention / Early Childhood Special Education (EI/ECSE) Standards could help families know what to expect in EI/ECSE and support families as informed partners and advocates for their children.

You Are Your Child’s Best Advocate
Meghan Burke (2019)
Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse Newsletter
This article provides information on both proactive and reactive advocacy, along with ways to advocate in an educational setting, a medical setting, and in general.

Family Stories
This collection of short vignettes describe families’ experiences in Illinois early intervention. Readers can learn about the EI team, advocating for your child, and the importance of connecting with the right resources.

Web Resources

Advocating for Your Child
This short article describes different types of advocates and the role of advocates in supporting children with disabilities.

The EIC created a series of 4 tip sheets to help you think about advocacy in different settings. Share these tip sheets with families or colleagues. Titles include: