Individual Family Service plans (IFSP's), Individual Education Programs (IEP's) and 504 meetings (to name a few) - are meetings that can be confusing and often fill parents with uncertaintly and questions that they don't know how to answer. While there are many resources and trainings for parents/families, having an advocate who understands the laws and a family's needs can make the process smoother and help parents get what they require for their children.
There are currently no state or national credentialing services for someone who is looking to provide advocacy. My path to advocacy services began early in my career running IEP trainings with a special education lawyer as my partner. The laws are federally mandated and years of trainings and attending meetings did give me a really good understanding of all of the things that can go wrong, as well as how often things go right. Over the past 25 years I have worked closely with many families to identify what they need from their schools and help them get it.
My goal in providing advocacy is first and foremost for everyone involved to have a positive experience. Additionally, but even more importantly, I also want parents to understand the process, to be aware of what supports and services are available for their child through an IEP or a 504 and to feel empowered in getting them.