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​An advocate knows and understands state and federal laws and is able to bring professional, hands-on experience from the Special Education field to the table. This combination provides the ability to keep meetings non-adversarial and child centered!  Advocacy and consultation goes a step further at Pacific MFT Network.  We are unique in that our advocate/consultant is not only skilled and experienced in special education and the laws related to it, she also has the ability to assess situations from an emotional perspective as a licensed marriage & family therapist.  We cover the legal and the emotional side of these highly charged experiences with schools.

What Does an Advocate Do?

  • Represents the best interests of the student in the educational process.

  • Has a working-knowledge of State and Federal laws pertaining to children with special needs and can inform parent/guardians of their rights. If need arises, she will research a specific legal issue or case that is pertinent to a child’s education program.

  • Suggests appropriate services, programs and accommodations/modifications to meet the student’s individual needs.

  • Can provide classroom observation reports.

  • Helps interpret the meaning of assessments and reports to parents, and explain their significance to the child’s educational needs.

  • Helps parents put requests in writing.

  • Prepares parents for the IEP/504 meeting. This could include interpreting and prioritizing support materials, proposing goals and objectives, and providing/rehearsing strategies for the meeting.

  • Reviews all special education documents, including files, assessments, report cards, observation reports, ect. prior to IEP/504.

  • Accompanies parents to IEP, 504, and any other relevant school meetings to provide advice and assistance.

  • Reviews IEP documents before you sign them.

  • Drafts letters, responses, complaints and written requests to school and district officials.

  • Empowers and educates families (parents and students!) to strengthen their own advocacy skills.

  • If you are ready to take your case to due process, an advocate can help advise you on the strength of your case and make referrals to local special education attorneys if need be.

Who Does a Special Education Advocate help?

A Special Education Advocate assists families of children with any learning concerns. Some students have needs that are already identified, whereas other parents will seek advocacy support in helping them identify issues that may be affecting their child’s learning. Common examples of Learning Concerns:

  • Learning disabilities and processing disorders (math, reading/writing)

  • Speech and language deficits

  • Hearing or Visual Impairment

  • AD/HD and Sensory Disorders

  • Autistic spectrum

  • Behavioral Issues and Emotional disorders

  • Physical disabilities

  • Chronic illnesses

  • Traumatic brain injuries

  • Intellectual Disabilities

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