Educational Advocate

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


How can I find an Advocate, Attorney, or Educational Consultant?

A few suggestions are:

  • Contact your State Parent Training Information Center
  • Ask Parents for suggestions
  • Contact your Legal and Advocacy Resources. If you have a dispute with the school about your child's special education program, you may decide to consult with a special education attorney or advocate who is familiar with the law

What is a Special Education Advocate ?


Special Education Advocate:

Is an advocate that can:

  • Negotiate with the school on your behalf
  • Facilitate IEP, conference or other meetings with the school, including mediation
  • Advise you on educational services and supports
  • Recommend specialists, related service providers, evaluators and school districts
  • Assist you in writing letters to the school or your school district
  • Review your child’s IEP or 504 Plan
  • Educate and give you information about the law
  • Represent you in a due process or impartial hearings (allowed in only some states)

What does an Attorney in Special Education do?

Attorney:

An attorney can:

  • Negotiate with the school on your behalf
  • Give you legal advice about your child’s rights
  • Review your child’s IEP or 504 plan from a legal perspective
  • Write letters to the school on your behalf
  • Prepare legal complaints and documents
  • Represent you in a mediation, due process or hearing
  • Represent you in a lawsuit in state or federal court

Special Education Advocate:

Advocates are often former teachers, parents of special needs children  or education specialists. They may have expertise in areas like:

  • Teaching methods
  • Specific learning and attention issues, or other disabilities
  • Behavior strategies
  • Evaluations
  • Mediating disputes
  • Impartial hearing
  • Knowlege of reading and understanding test scores
  • Knowledge of programs in different private and public schools
  • Assistive Technology
  • Special education law

Attorney:

Attorneys may also be former teachers and specialists. But more often, they aren’t.

Even if they are, attorneys may be reluctant to offer specific advice in non-legal areas, like teaching methods.


Special Education law is very complex. Not every lawyer has specific experience with this area of law, but some specialize on it.


Special education advocates and attorneys can assist your child in different ways. Understanding the differences is essential as you try to get the help your child needs. Attorneys usually cost much more than Advocates.


What should I do if I encounter a teacher diagnosing my child with ADD or any other classification?

Consult with an Advocate or Attorney who is knowledgeable about special education issues. Talk with your child's psychiatrist or psychologist right away or get your child evaluated to determine if there are any learning issues. Learn about your parental rights and responsibilities. Learn how to be an effective Advocate for your child. Educate yourself about Special Education issues.


What test should I request for my child to be evaluated?

I am an Advocate, not a psychologist, therefore I do not advise parents to ask their child's evaluator to use specific test.

You should select an evaluator who is knowledgeable about your child's disability and learning differences. Your evaluator should have expertise about a variety of tests and learning tools to better select the appropriate test your child needs. Every child is different and has different learning abilities. 


Can the school expel my child who has ADHD or LD?

Yes, they can do this if you, the child's parent/s don't know his/her right or your rights or don't know how to assert your rights. If the school has not evaluated your child or found he/she eligible for special education, it's unlikely that you know your rights, and need to seek an Advocate right away.