ASTra Educational Advocacy

The ASTra Educational Advocacy Program is a deaf and hard of hearing educational advocacy program that embodies the mission and vision of Hands & Voices. ASTra stands for Advocacy, Support, and Training. The program provides support and materials for parents of children who are deaf and hard of hearing that address the needs of these learners. ASTra content is derived from years of direct advocacy experience working with families in schools, attending advocacy training sessions from Hands & Voices Educational Advocacy Guidebook (©2013).

Families may struggle to find educational programming that is a fit for the unique needs of their child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Minnesota Hands & Voices provides educational advocacy support and resources to families who need guidance through special education law and creating educational plans for their DHH student.

While we are lay advocates and we do not give legal advice, we feel strongly that ASTra Advocates can be great assets to families in need of direct support of educational process and/or increase their knowledge and confidence in advocating for their children.

Additional resources and articles can be found at the Hands & Voices ASTra Advocacy Tools and Products page.

Individual trainings from the workshop can be accessed with a password. The videos are captioned, ASL interpreted, and voiced.

ASTra Advocacy Request Form

ASTra Release of Liability Form

To gain password-protected access to these videos, please contact your parent guide at:

Phone: 651-265-2334 Email:

PACER Center

PACER Center is another local advocacy resource. PACER Center is a parent training and information center for families of children and youth with all disabilities from birth to young adults. Located in Minneapolis, it serves families across the nation, as well as those in Minnesota. Parents can find publications, workshops, and other resources to help make decisions about education, vocational training, employment, and other services. PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center provides resources designed to benefit all students.

PACER parent advocates have developed a tool called the Parent Homework Sheet. It was developed to help parents understand how the needs of the student, as stated in the special education evaluation report, connect with the goals and support in the student’s IEP (Individualized Education Program). A series of short videos will help parents prepare to discuss their child’s special education services with the IEP team. Also available is a video overview of special education in American Sign Language.

Contact PACER via email, by phone 952.838.9000 or toll free at 800.537.2237.

Please contact Minnesota Hands & Voices with questions about educational advocacy or for information about the ASTra Program.

Languages Provided

  • American Sign Language
  • Spanish
  • Hmong
  • Somali
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