What is special education?
According to the Individual's with Disabilities Education Improvment Act, special education is defined as "specialized instruction" to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.
What is a special education advocate?
A special education advocate is a highly trained person with "specialized knowledge" about the disability or the educational process. Also known as a parent advocate or educational advocate, your advocate should have a working knowledge of your child's disability and understand mechanisms providing for special education. An advocate is not an attorney nor a substitute for legal advice.
Why should I choose to hire an advocate?
By the time you are contemplating the use of an advocate, you have either had your child in special education for several years and are frustrated with the attitude and lack of appropriate services for your child, or you have a newly diagnosed child with a disability and do not understand how to navigate the special education bureaucracy. Perhaps you have attended ARD/IEP meetings and felt somewhat intimidated. Your school district will pack the boardroom with "education experts" to determine eligibility. If your child is deemed eligible for special education, the committee with you as a participant, will draw up an individual education plan for your child. This education plan should also include the necessary support and related services for your child. The ARD/IEP process can be very intimidating and emotionally draining. Many parents passively sit back at these meetings and timidly accept the decisions of the other ARD/IEP committee participants. Unfortunately, in many instances this is potentially detrimental to the child. An experienced advocate can assist you in understanding the programming possibilities that are offered by your public school system. The advocate can also help you to articulate to your school system what you and your child's professionals believe your child requires in order to receive a meaningful benefit from special education. National ARD/IEP Advocates will take an objective and logical approach to each situation, mating their experience and understanding of your child's situation to aid in the creation in a highly beneficial placement and effective support mechanism for your child. Remember, as a parent or guardian you understand your child's impairment better than anyone.
When do I know it is time to seek counsel?
Generally, the use of counsel is indicated once you have exhausted the ARD/IEP process. It is at that time that your dispute potentially reaches the level of filing for due process. An experienced special education attorney can guide you through the process. If your situation requires due process, we will try to help you find qualified legal counsel.
What regions do we service?
Although we are based in the Greater Houston, Texas area, we are prepared to travel anywhere in the United States that our services are required.
For ARD/IEP meetings, grievances and other filings we charge on a flat rate basis. At times depending on individual circumstances, we charge on a sliding scale. Please contact our offices for more information.