Why You Need A Special Education Advocate
Or What an Advocate Can Do For Your Child – And You
Many parents know a lot about special education rules and regulations. All of them have much greater familiarity with their children than we do. Often parents will ask us – why an do we need an advocate? Your child is entitled to get what they need from their school district. Isn’t the school district is there to help and support families? Not always, so it is imperative to know how the system works.
Helpful school districts
Some school districts are friendly and seem helpful. They give parents specific advice, and offer services the parents did not know what were available. That is great, and we support it. The potential problem is that the district evaluating your child and determining the necessary services does so with one eye on their budget. This can create a conflict of interest.
Conflict of Interest
Let us explain.. Special education is often underfunded, and the services your student needs comes out of the school’s budget. You cannot assume that your child is getting 100% of the supports and services they need. It is possible – with such underfunding – that the district is making at least some of their recommendations based on their budget, resources, and staffing prioritized over your child’s specific needs. And, we see it all the time. There is often no other reasonable explanation for students with obvious needs not receiving services.
This is where an experienced advocate can help. The big question then is how do you find an advocate?
It is always a good idea to Google anyone you are considering hiring – including us. How long has the agency been in business? If their webpage says that they are part of a group, who else is involved? Do your research. This is an unregulated industry, and that can allow for considerable creative writing.
First, we are a team of two experienced advocates with a combined 40 years of advocating experience, as well as our own family experiences with getting what our children need from the school district and other social service agencies. Clients receive the benefit of that extensive experience. Second, there are often many ways to frame discussions and work through areas of disagreement, and we are experts at it. Last, between extensive real world experience and ongoing education, we have a wide range of techniques and creative suggestions that will move the IEP process forward, and provide your child with the services and supports they need.
We support and empower parents during the process. Our parents tell us they understand the process better, and are finally feeling like equal IEP team members. They tell us how much this peace of mind means to them.
As partners, we discuss cases and strategize the most effective ways to get our clients the supports and services they need. Google our names; you will see our volunteer advocacy work at the State level, chairing Area Developmental Disabilities Board VII. We know and have worked with people from the California State Department of Developmental Services to local school district staff, and everyone in between.
Most of all, we operate with integrity, are straightforward, and treat others with the respect they deserve.
As parents, we understand, As experienced and trained advocates, we can help.
#specialeducationadvocate #specialeducationadvocacy #specialedSanJose #specialeducationSantaCruz #IEPSanta Clara, #IEPSanJose, #specialedadvocate #bayareaadvocacy