First it’s important to know what an advocate does and does not do.
A special education advocate is not an attorney. An advocate looks out for you and your child’s interests when trying to secure appropriate educational services and accommodations for your son or daughter. Unlike most parents, she has a wealth of IEP experience because she attends several IEP meetings every week. She knows how the meetings are run, by whom, and who makes the final decisions. Good advocates understand that the professional respect of the IEP Team is a key to successfully assisting parents achieve an appropriate education for their child.
A special education advocate is a business professional who you’ve hired to resolve the current issue.
A special education advocate’s work is to help parents get things done diplomatically and with as little emotion as possible, knowing that after the current challenge is resolved, the family still has a relationship with the district. My goal is to bring the school and the parents closer to agreement.
Advocates can act solely as a confidential, behind-the-scenes coach or participate actively in your IEP meetings. It’s up to you to decide.
When you bring a special education advocate to your IEP meetings, you’re signaling to the school and district that you want issues to be quickly resolved to avoid litigation that costs both sides money.
- Special education advocates usually have extended professional networks should you need a referral: diagnosticians, specialists, and attorneys or lawyers who in their own independent practices can provide assistance to your daughter or son’s case.
What Do You Want Without Hiring an Expensive Attorney?
Our goal is to get you services without expending too much of your time, emotions, and money. Going to Due Process is time-consuming, expensive, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll prevail. Think about it. School personnel still get paid while you expend your time and money.
However, sometimes a school district leaves you no choice. You have to bring suit when it will not agree to provide the services that your child needs and is legally entitled to receive. We are familiar with several attorneys.
Document, Document, Document
Pete Wright, one of the most well-known and respected special education attorneys, says this, “If it’s not in writing, it was never said.” From the time that you start to see developmental issues with your child, start keeping all email documentation with the school.
Get a three-ring binder and develop a paper trail. You may have to go through mediation or Due Process someday. By doing this you help your child, advocate, and attorney because it’s difficult to refute facts. If you go to mediation or Due Process remember this -- facts win cases – nothing else.
Making decisions and resolving issues that most parents don’t face can be overwhelming, frightening, exhausting, and stressful.
With our Parent Consulting services, we assess your needs and challenges and create strategies that will have positive outcomes for your child at home, in school, and in your community.
As your personal parent coach, expert, advisor, confidante, and consultant, you’ll receive weekly, 1-hr. Parent and Educational Consulting sessions to help you proactively make positive decisions to assist your child. A 20% discount is offered for a package of 4 sessions.
We can spend time discussing how to improve a crisis situation at school (your child just kicked a teacher and is now suspended) or how to get your special needs toddler to sleep alone in her bed.
As mother of a 19-year-old son on the autism spectrum and an expert IEP advocate I also have an extended professional network should you need a referral: diagnosticians, specialists, special education attorneys, and experts in many fields – education and physical and mental health.
Help is only a phone call away.