The Power of Advocacy for Special Educators - Creatively Focused

The Power of Advocacy for Special Educators

Special education is a highly regulated, highly public field of work. It is also a career that people feel passionate about and dedicated to supporting students with special needs. Educators need a lot of knowledge and expertise to do this work, but they also need a lot of empathy and care.

Advocacy in education is a part of the profession that requires both brainwork and heartwork to transform the educational landscape for students with special needs. Here are some effective strategies for advocating to create a profound impact.


Advocating for Students with Special Needs

When students with special needs enter our classrooms, they bring dreams, challenges, and a spectrum of abilities. Special educators must ensure that these students have equitable access to education and that their unique needs are met. Advocacy in education is the vehicle that propels these students towards success. Special educators can advocate by:

  • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

Collaborating with parents, guardians, and other professionals to develop comprehensive IEPs that address the specific learning goals, specialized services, and accommodations needed for each student.

  • Inclusion and Accessibility

Promoting inclusive practices within the school system, encouraging the integration of students with special needs into mainstream classrooms, and advocating for accessible learning materials and assistive technologies.

  • Differentiated Instruction

Advocating for individualized instruction, utilizing diverse teaching strategies, and ensuring that students with special needs have access to appropriate resources and support within the curriculum.


Educators Advocating for Themselves 

While advocating for students is crucial, special educators must also recognize the importance of advocating for themselves. By doing so, they foster a positive work environment and ensure their personal and professional growth. Strategies to effectively advocate in education for oneself include:

  • Professional Development

Actively seeking out opportunities for relevant training, conferences, and workshops to enhance their teaching skills and stay up-to-date with research-based practices.

  • Collaborative Networks

Joining professional organizations, networks, or online communities to connect with fellow special educators, share experiences, and seek guidance on best practices.

  • Self-Care

Advocating for their well-being by finding ways to manage stress and prevent burnout, such as practicing mindfulness techniques and seeking support from colleagues or mentors.


Advocating for Fellow Educators

Alongside advocating for students and themselves, special educators play a vital role in supporting and advocating for their colleagues. By building a strong network and creating a culture of collaboration, educators can ensure that every student receives the best education. Strategies for advocating for fellow educators include:

  • Sharing Knowledge and Resources

Actively sharing lesson plans, strategies, and resources that have proven successful in supporting students with special needs, creating a supportive community that benefits all.

  • Collaboration and Mentorship

Advocating for regular collaboration opportunities and the establishment of mentoring programs for new educators. This fosters a culture of continuous learning and support.

  • Celebrating Successes

Advocating for recognition of the accomplishments and dedication of fellow educators, as this contributes to a positive and supportive work environment.


Advocacy in education plays an indispensable role in the lives of special educators, enabling them to make a transformative difference in the education of students with special needs. By advocating for students, themselves, and other educators, special educators create an environment that supports growth, inclusion, and success of every student.

Creatively Focused supports this mission by providing resources and training, as well as cultivating connections in a vibrant professional community where educators can advocate for students, themselves, and their fellow educators.

Creatively Focused – Where Heart Meets Mind.

Written by Kalin Schoephoerster, Instructional Designer, Licensed Special Education Teacher & Coordinator