March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


3/15/2016  |   10:10 AM - 10:40 AM   |  Topical Session 4   |  Sunrise   |  7 - Family Perspectives and Support

LEAVITS!! An Advocacy/IDEA Parent Education Tool for Providers

Given that most parents of children with hearing loss are hearing themselves, it is unlikely that they have any knowledge of special education law or educational advocacy. Advocacy education should begin as soon as parents learn of their child’s special need. Helping parents navigate the system begins with existing parental knowledge and a particular discussion about how they can request what the child needs to thrive amongst their peers. Early intervention professionals can easily expose families to this critically important topic through easy 2-5 minute talking points to help familiarize families themselves with the world of special education. During this session participants will be provided with the tools to learn, address and expand on these specific talking points including national and local resources that the family can access. Attendees will leave with a DVD-R with 12 easy talking points (such as: what is advocacy, what is ESY, what is Least Restrictive Environment, What is IDEA, etc) to use with families. This DVD-R will include a template for talking point cards (called LEAVITS) to use and leave with families they work with. In my experience I have found that some parents will not benefit from full day advocacy seminars. These parents may be overwhelmed with the situation at hand which is why I have developed these talking points for providers to touch base with these families every 3 or 4 weeks or as needed. The goal is to discuss one of the talking points per week and review the talking point before moving forward. The LEAVIT system allows providers to address this extremely important topic slowly and in an un-overwhelming manner. Current results from quality improvement testing and improvement suggestions will also be discussed during this presentation.

  • Participants will have the ability to utilize the tools provided in the session to implement a similar program in their state upon their return with minimal effort. CD's will be provided with templates and examples.
  • Participants will have the tools to create a similar document to provide to parents for further education, allowing the families to be active participants in their child's learning and intervention process. Topics and key points will prepare the early interventionist to begin discussion with the family.
  • Participants will be provided with several different topics of discussion for starting a similar program in their state early intervention system and early childhood LEA's.

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Andrea Marwah (Primary Presenter), IL Hands & Voices, sjakiddos@gmail.com;
Andrea Marwah is the advocacy/IDEA expert for Illinois School for the Deaf. She is President of Illinois Hands & Voices, responsible for reaching parents in Illinois who have children with hearing loss through outreach and education. As Commissioner on Naperville's Advisory Commission on Disabilities she ensures residents are protected under ADA. Through her position as chairperson/president of IL Hands & Voices, she works closely with the EHDI (Early Detection Hearing Loss Intervention) program in the state of Illinois providing outreach to service providers. Andrea has also been published both locally and nationally on topics relating to deafness, advocacy and IDEA. After attending North Central College she obtained her BA degree in Psychology. She is first and foremost a mother to three children and wife to Ajay. Her oldest daughter Samantha is profoundly deaf. She lives in Naperville, Illinois with her family.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.