2024 Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Conference

March 17-19, 2024 • Denver, CO


 IDEA & Advocacy: Protecting the Parent/School Relationship

What makes a parent a successful advocate for their child who is deaf/HOH? What helps a provider successfully advocate for their student? Legal protection is available for parents of children with disabilities; sadly not all parents are aware of it. This presentation offers both parents and professionals the basics to successfully work with schools for their child’s educational future. Protection of the parent/school relationship is the most important aspect of successfully advocating for a child with disabilities. Professionals can easily educate parents in this model of parent/school relationship building without jeopardizing their position. IDEA protects parents; it’s up to the parents to protect their relationship with school personnel. In this session participants will have the opportunity to rewrite sections of the IEP that have missing pieces. Firsthand examples will be provided throughout the session from an advocate who has been teaching this session and advocating for students for over 15 years, beginning with her new 21-year-old daughter.

  • Participants will define three different laws that protect students with disabilities.
  • Participants will use tools provided in the training for IEP development.
  • Participants will rewrite sections of provided IEP's that have holes in their content.

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Presenter: Andrea Marwah

Andrea Marwah received her BA degree in Psychology from North Central College. Since her daughter was diagnosed with hearing loss in 2002, she has taken a special interest in educating parents and professionals on matters concerning ADA, IDEA - special education rights, and advocacy for students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing or DeafBlind. Andrea presents both locally and nationally on advocacy and IDEA; deafness with other disabilities; impact of deafness; socialization and many other topics surrounding parenting and working with children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing. She works for the Illinois School for the Deaf as an outreach trainer/consultant for families and professionals who work with children who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, low vision or deaf-blind. She is also a parent advocate supporting families in Illinois at their child’s IEP meeting or behind the scenes preparing them to attend the meeting and advocate themselves. Andrea is the Executive Director at Illinois Hands & Voices and has been a leader with them since 2010 and is a national trainer for the Hands & Voices ASTra Training Program and a member of the Hands & Voices speakers bureau. She works closely with Designated Service Coordinators providing group training and individual consulting. These are trained individuals who work directly with infants and toddlers in Illinois birth to three who have a diagnosis involving vision, hearing or a combination of both in her state early intervention program. Andrea works as a liaison with the Early Intervention Training Program on issues surrounding deafness and hearing loss. She sits on numerous committees both locally and nationally. Andrea also served for six years on the Advisory Commission on Disabilities in her hometown of Naperville, where she lives with her husband Ajay and children Samantha, Julia and Andrew.


Financial -
No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial -
No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.