About Us

Louis H. Geigerman

LouisMr. Louis H. Geigerman has been a professional advocate since 1995 when he founded National ARD/IEP Advocates. In late 2006 he founded College Disability Advocates in order to assist college students with special needs in acquiring reasonable accommodations from their educational institutions. In the fall of 2007 he became a part-time paralegal with the Philpot Law Office, P.C. He has logged over 1250 hours in IEP and Section 504 meetings and over 400 hours in mediations and resolution sessions. He is a charter member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) and the Texas Organization of Parents Attorneys and Advocates (TOPAA). Mr. Geigerman is also a past member of AHEAD Texas, a higher education disability association and the Learning Disabilities Association (LDA). He has attended numerous training opportunities in special education law conducted by COPAA, The ARC, Advocacy Inc. and the Learning Disabilities Association of Texas. In 1995, he underwent training conducted by the Texas Association of Section 504 Coordinators and Hearing Officers and received certification as a Section 504 hearing officer. In 2000 he completed the State of Texas 40-hour Basic Mediation Training. He has spoken to a number of groups regarding special education services including, The ARC of Houston, The Texas State Autism Conference, The Council of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates ( COPAA), The Learning Disabilities Association of Fort Bend County, Future Horizons the Houston Young Lawyers Association and The Northwest Houston Chapter of the Autism Society of America. He was also active in lobbying efforts for the 2004 reauthorization of the Individual's with Disabilities Education Act. In the summer of 2007, he was featured in a chapter on advocacy in the newly released book by Scott Teel, Defending and Parenting Children Who Learn Differently: Lessons from Edison's Mother for Praeger Publishers. In 2014 he helped establish an annual endowed lecture series entitled "The Benjamin J. Geigerman Lecture through the University Of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. In 2015 he assisted in the successful effort in passing legislation in the Texas Legislature to mandate the installation of surveillance cameras in the self-contained special needs classrooms. In July 2015 he began hosting a weekly radio show entitled "The Special Ed/ Section 504 Radio Hour on http://cypressradio.org. He is a past president of The Sean Ashley House, and a former board member of the Greater Houston Chapter of the Autism Society of America and The Texas Organization of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates. He has been an adviser for a continuing series of reports on KRIV-TV Fox 26 in Houston regarding special education and the public schools. He is the proud father of Benjamin that passed away in July of 2011 and a daughter Kayla who is employed in the marketing division of a major enterprise software company.

Snail mail inquiries:
4510 Redstart
Houston, Texas 77035

Email inquiries:
louis@narda.org

Telephone:
(281) 265-1506

Lynn Ridley Akins, MEd

Lynn Ridley Akins, MEdLynn recently retired after 32 rewarding years in education. Much of that time she was in the classroom working with students with significant instructional challenges. The final years of her career were spent in leadership roles including ARD facilitation, special education department chair, professional development, instructional coaching and administration.

Lynn has always enjoyed a collegial relationship with parents and often acted as a parent and student advocate ensuring effective programming for all students. One of her particular areas of expertise has been in the development of quality transition plans. Lynn was a participant in early development of the person centered planning partnerships in Brazoria County. She has developed and presented professional development on best practices in transition at both local and national levels.

Lynn is a strong proponent of assisting parents and students in authentic participation in the ARD process. She has been at the forefront of training students to actively participate and lead appropriate parts of the ARD/IEP process. Lynn knows that the way to facilitate effective planning is to have all parties participate in a meaningful manner.

Lynn holds teaching certifications in both general and special education as well as principal's certification. She was born and raised in Brazoria County and continues to make this her home. Her goal is to continue to use her expertise to assist parents obtain quality education for their children.

Email: lynn@narda.org

Pat Freeze

Pat FreezePat brings a range of experience to the educational advocacy table. After many years as a litigation paralegal she completed the alternative certification program at College of the Mainland. Her interest in teaching was surpassed by her effortless compassion for children in challenging situations. In addition to advocating for others, Pat advocates for her three grandchildren with special needs.

Pat is a member of COPAA, The Autism Society, and NAMI. She is an avid supporter of St. Baldrick's Foundation (a childhood cancer charity).

Pat is married to JJ. Together they have 10 grandchildren. Pat has eclectic musical interests and enjoys traveling to hear her favorite performers.

Email: patfreeze@narda.org

Veronica Garcia

Veronica GarciaVeronica started advocating in 2004 with limited knowledge for her own son. Throughout the years she has become an expert at navigating through the special education system; she continues to devote her life to advocating for those that have no voice.

Veronica has attended several ARD, IEP and 504 meetings, which at times has lead to filling multiple Due Process Complaints. She has also had extensive training and is a member of COPAA.

Creating the best individualized educational plan for your child requires knowledgeable decisions to ensure an appropriate educational experience. Allowing Veronica to assist you and the ARD committee in creating such a plan will further ensure your child's preparation for further education, employment and independent living.

Email: veronicag@narda.org

Jana Palcer

Jana PalcerJana Palcer is the proud mother of a teenage daughter with Down syndrome in the Austin area who has spent almost a decade of her life on the front lines of Texas special education advocacy. Prior to becoming a parent advocate out of necessity not choice, Jana also spent a decade on the front lines of social welfare advocacy in the position of Child Protective Services Caseworker. Both types of advocacy draw upon Jana's intense desire to see justice for the vulnerable. Those on the margins of society must have a voice that is not only unafraid to speak, but to speak in an undaunted manner, with the firm conviction that doing so can, and will, make a difference. Jana first realized the complex needs of children drowning in the devastating realities of Texas special education when she held the two year Board position of the Education Committee Chair for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas. Prior to this endeavor, Jana was a trusting parent of a child with a disability, who unquestioningly placed her child's well-being into what she hoped was the capable hands of her local school district. But after being forced to file several lawsuits, attend multiple mediations, and file countless state complaints, it became overwhelmingly clear that parents need empowerment in the civil rights battle for quality and equality in education. But empowerment is just the beginning. Jana is adamant that the school systems of America must begin presuming competence in children with disabilities; must partner with parents instead of punishing them; and must utilize growing research that points to a better way to deliver specialized supports and services that so many children desperately need and deserve. So Jana is now running "Restore Advocacy" with the aim of building up confident, knowledgeable parents who can sit at the IEP table as experts in their own right...protecting their children from a broken system, and helping to ensure a productive and meaningful future that might not otherwise be afforded.

I serve the Greater Austin and surrounding area.

Email: jpalcer@narda.org

Nicole Schaper

Nicole SchaperNicole holds a B.A. from Texas A&M University, and a J.D. from South Texas College of Law. She is currently enrolled in a Masters of Special Education program through Texas A&M University, which she will complete in May 2018.

Nicole began her legal career practicing in the field of oil, gas, and property law. The birth of her son, who has special needs, introduced her to the complex world of the special education system and advocacy. Over the past ten years, Nicole has transitioned the focus of her law practice to special education advocacy. She has experience in navigating ARD, IEP, and 504 meetings, as well as filing for Due Process hearings.

Nicole is a member of COPAA and The State Bar of Texas. In the past, she has completed pro bono work for Disability Rights Texas, and was invited to attend the William & Mary Law Institute of Special Education Advocacy. She is an avid supporter of The Make a Wish Foundation, and has been a volunteer wish granter for the past five years.

Email: nikkys@narda.org

SIDNEY A. WOHLMAN

Sidney A. WohlmanChild advocate Sidney A. Wohlman is the father of an adult special needs daughter, whose first ARD meeting was in 1976. He has worked in teaching for the past 23 years as a part time religious school teacher and as a full time teacher from 2003 to 2009. During his time as an elementary teacher he sat in many ARD/IEP meetings and he knows about what happens at a school before the actual ARD. Because of all these experiences at the ARD table and in the classroom, Mr. Wohlman is uniquely qualified to assist your family in advocating for your child's educational needs.


Email:saw@narda.org