McNair Scholars Research Journal


Ta'Aha Biles


Students with learning disabilities often face challenges from childhood through adulthood and their parents and caregivers need to make adjustments to support and adapt to the needs of their children to support them educationally, socially, and emotionally. Some effects on families with learning disabilities are stress, lack of support from extended family, and difficulties interacting with school staff. For these reasons, it is important for families to seek the support from special needs advocates. Minority students who are disproportionately represented within the education system may benefit from a special needs advocate, as they are often at greater risk of dropping out of high school, becoming unemployed, and being incarcerated. Special education advocates help families understand special education laws, the IEP process, and parental rights. The best type of advocate is knowledgeable and has expertise within the special education field. One can determine this based on the relationships an advocate has with their past clients. Ultimately, having a supportive advocate who works collaboratively with the family, has been shown to make the difference between an effective and ineffective postsecondary transition plan for a student with a disability. This literature review aims to (1) investigate how disproportionality and socioeconomic status may impact children’s postsecondary lifestyles, (2) assess the role and selection process of an effective special education advocate, and (3) gain insight into how pivotal advocate/client relationships are in supporting the child’s transition into adulthood.