What is a Special Education Advocate?
An advocate is someone who has knowledge of both the IEP process and the special education community. A good advocate will help you understand your rights, your child’s options for education, how to best pursue the services your child needs and community-based services that your child may need.
Things are going well at school right now. Do I need an advocate?
Of course, things are going well. Things are always going well, until they aren’t. What if the school wants to move your child’s placement or remove some services? What if your school says in the next meeting that your child no longer needs special education? You’re sitting there, all alone with no support. You’re a busy parent with a career, you don’t have time to read IDEA from beginning to end. Maybe you haven’t read your procedural safeguards or know how to utilize them. What are you going to do now? Having an advocate at the table during the good times and the bad times will save you headaches and money in the long run.
Is there a certification for special education advocates?
No, there isn’t an industry-wide certification requirement. You can read the About Me section to understand my experience in representing over 100 students and counting! In addition, I’m a member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates.
What are some red flags in hiring an advocate?
You want to hire someone who makes you feel comfortable and can relate to your situation. You don’t want an advocate that talks about “getting” the school or seeks revenge. You need an advocate who focuses on getting the services your child needs. You need an advocate who is professional. Screaming at the school is just adding gas to the fire….it’s not a very successful strategy and it’s not going to yield great results for your child.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time it can take to accomplish your goals will vary from client to client. Please know that we are committed to helping your student and getting the services they need.
What can I do to help?
I am so glad you are dedicated to your child’s education. Your active participation and dedication will be crucial to your students success. Keep an open mind, keep your communication professional and know that we are here to help you.