How to Find Help & Make It Work for Your Child


Heidi von Ravensberg

University of Oregon



Do these things to find help for your child:


Tips on How to “Be Clear About What You Need”


Unclear:  They told me to call you for help with my girl.  Can you?  

Clear:  The staff at Kelly Middle School and I feel a drug support group will help my girl.  Do you have a group for teens? 

Help: Drug support group for teens


UNCLEAR                              CLEAR                      CLEARER


She/her/hers                             Hill                               Pat Hill, my 3rd grade son’s teacher

He/him/his                                my son                         my son Tim Hanks

They/them/theirs                       Carla’s sisters               Carla’s sisters, Maria and Rose

It/this/that                                 the note                         the note dated May 1 saying Ben hits

Here/there                                Bill’s house               Bill’s house in Portland



Unclear:  Mr. Carter hates my son.  

Clear:  The teacher wants students quiet when reading.  A student talks during reading time.  The teacher asks the student to stop.  The student talks.  The teacher reminds the student to stop.  The student is full of energy all day long.  The student just cannot quiet down.  

Help:  Find activity to use up extra energy, treat for ADHD, social skills training 


Try this:  My son needs a way to deal with his high energy so he can focus on his learning. 


Personal:  Mr. Carter, hates my son

Role:  teacher

Teacher Duties:  teach students to read, keep order in class 


Personal:  my son  

Role:  student

Student Duties:  learn to read, be quiet when reading, stop talking when told


Tips on “Asking for Help”



Tips on How Not to Give Up: 

If you do not know exactly what you want: 

If they do not know anything:

If the person you want is not in: 

If you think the person is avoiding you:

He may just be hard to reach, try this:

She may not have what she needs to help. Try this:

He may not be able to help. Try this:


Tip on How to Learn More 




Slow – “Developmental problems, Learning Disabled”

Sad, upset, cries a lot – “Grief and loss issues”

Runs away, argues, throws fits – “Adjustment problems”

Hits, kicks      -- “Behavior problems”

The name of someone who can help – “A referral”

See if he has the problem      -- “Assessment”                               

Help kids one-on-one – “Individual therapy with child”

Help the whole family – “Family therapy”


Tips on How to Save What You Find: 




q       My name is ____  

q       I am the parent/guardian of a child with (name disability) ____  

q       My child's name is ____

q       He/She is ____ years old

q       We live in (City) ____  

q       He/She is in the ____ grade

q       He/She attends school at ____ in the ____ school district

q       I have copies of his/her (report card/attendance sheet/other) ____  


q       I want to speak to someone about:

q       Getting information on what services you give

q       Applying for services

q       Getting help with ____ 

q       Getting a referral for someone who can ____

q       Filing a complaint about ____

q       I need to speak with someone/have my message returned about this ____

q       Immediately, it is an emergency  

q       Urgently, before (give time/date/event) ____   

q       As soon as possible


q       I live at (street address) ____

q       My mailing address is (if different) ____


q       You can reach me by phone at ____

q       This phone number is at my:

q       Home/work

q       Family member's home/work

q       Friend's home/work

q       Neighbor's home/work

q       Other ____


q       The best time to reach me in person at this phone number is:

q       Any time

q       Days

q       Evenings

q       Nights

q       Weekends

q       By appointment

q       I pick up my phone messages:

q       Throughout the day

q       ____ Times a day

q       ____ Times a week

q       Only on ____ 



q       Date you called?

q       Time you called?


q       Name of person/organization called?

q       Telephone number?


q       Name of person(s) you spoke to?

q       His/her job title?

q       His/her extension number or direct telephone number?

q       His/her e-mail address?


q       Mailing address?

q       Physical location (if different)?

q       FAX no.?

q       Web address?


q       Services/programs offered?

q       Transportation available?

q       Free material available?

q       Price lists/catalogs available? 


q       Fees charged?

q       Who pays?

q       Scholarships/grants available?  Who may apply?  Application deadlines?


q       Age requirements?

q       Income requirements?

q       Is a referral required?  If yes, by whom?

q       Is an application required?

q       Other requirements?


q       Are business hours limited?

q       Is staffing limited?

q       Are there other limitations on services?


q       Who else do you suggest I call? 

q       Is there anything else I should do?