Special Education Advocates

Parent Q&A

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  • Special education advocate cost

    (1 reply)

    Hi! A friend of mine is looking into hiring a special education advocate for her son. Does anyone have a current estimate of the cost and billing rates? My friend has considerable money so it's not a cost issue but she's weighing a few other options (such as an attorney). Thank you!

    It's been a while since I hired a special education advocate for my child, so I can't give current cost information. However, I can recommend your friend look into the Parents Place at JFCS. I met with an advocate at the JFCS in Palo Alto after working with an advocate from another organization and having a truly disastrous meeting with the advocate and adminstration at my child's school. It was very hard to recover ground with the school after the advocate acted unprofessionally. The JFCS advocate was not only compassionate, but well informed and deeply skilled. https://www.jfcs.org/find-help/center-children-youth/parents-place/

  • IEP Advocate for OUSD

    (3 replies)


    I'm looking for an advocate to attend an IEP meeting in person with us, preferably someone with experience and a good track record with OUSD schools. Many of the existing recommendations on BPN are from 2019 or older. Thank you!

    This group may be able to help you:


    good luck!

    Contact DREDF, they are a great resource and extremely helpful. Good Luck.

  • Searching for recommendations for an IEP consultant for high school level IEP that can help determine what services and supports are available for student. Student has had IEP since 3rd grade. Student was very successful in middle school with IEP. Consultant able to clarify what high school teachers and administrators can legally require of student. Familiarity with Contra Costa County high school districts will be very helpful. Thank You!

    I can recommend Carlo Rossi as a independent child advocate and IEP consultant with decades of experience. He knows the law inside and out; I know this because I took his legal class at SFSU. He's a smart, experienced, compassionate man. He is located in Sonoma county but consults all over the state.  You can contact him at 707-829-6690, crossi [at] saysc.org

  • IEP Advocate for Albany student

    (5 replies)

    I am seeking advice and/or recommendation for an advocate or lawyer to help me communicate with my daughter's school regarding her IEP.  

    Her AUSD school (Cornell) has been without a resource teacher this academic year and as a result the district has not provided her with 1200 minutes of resource class education (and counting).  I would like to hire a tutor for her so that she can get the educational support that the district has failed to give her and I need help getting the district to pay for this.  The district is "working on a plan" to make up missed minutes, but the only vague information they have provided me so far is that they might be able to make up the missed minutes during winter break.  

    I have contacted DREDF and await their reply.  I would greatly appreciate any experiences, leads, or information that parents who have been in this situation or gone through this process would be comfortable sharing with me.   Thanks very much in advance.  

    Our family lives in Oakland.  Our situation is slightly different but parallel.   I'm working with Tollner Law in San Jose.  Special education is their focus.  It's been a good experience.  Get in touch and I can give you more details.  Good luck.


    Our  daughter had an IEP and we had so many challenges with our local school district. I found many helpful resources, including free access to care managers at Children’s Health Center(CHC). There website is www.chconline.com and their care managers can be reached at 650-688-3625 or caremanagers [at] chconline.org. They are noted to be the top rated education and mental health services for children, teens and young adults, with reputable resources steeped in solid research and science. I hope you find this resources as helpful as I did.

    Good Luck to you


    Jennifer Callahan 415-238-2338 .

    This is her specialty!

    DREDF is great.  Talk to Cheryl/Sheryl if you can because she's familiar with Albany IEPs. 

    If you have the means, I highly recommend education attorney Deborah Jacobson. She has a wonderful demeanor, was very responsive, and was straightforward about the likely outcomes. Her firm will do a free initial phone conversation, which can help you determine if it's worth spending the money to have her take your case.

  • IEP Advocate Recommendation for OUSD

    (2 replies)

    Happy New Year. I'm seeking a likable but firm advocate for my daughter's upcoming IEP for OUSD. I appreciate any leads and advice in the area.


    Hi There,

    I don’t have any recs for an advocate, unfortunately, but I highly recommend attending a DREDF workshop to understand all your parental rights. https://dredf.org/special-education/trainings/You could also contact them to see if they have any advocate information.

    Best of luck!

    Jennifer Callahan in Oakland.  She's a SPED parent herself! https://www.copaa.org/members/?id=43057817

  • My son has an IEP and is making the transition to high school.  He attends public school in the east bay. We just had a very difficult triennial IEP and I would like to find an educational consultant who can help us find agreement with the district but who will also, frankly, help us get what we want, which is what our son needs. 

    I would appreciate any recommendations or pointers. 

      Our family can highly recommend Deborah Bloom educational consultant / advocate  in San Ramon.  She is highly regarded with a depth of  experience.  Her work with us and BUSD was instrumental in our child's receipt of FAPE and well being today.  She has a website to check out and give an informational call to:

    +1 (925) 820-5480

    Call DREDF - For their recommendation on how best to proceed. They will provide free counsel. They also have workshops 
    3075 Adeline Street,
    Suite 210
    Berkeley, CA 94703
    510.644.2555 v

    Deborah Jacobsen is an education lawyer who  has helped many families and their children.  She will be part of the upcoming DREDF workshop on Solving School Disputes 3/18. 

    Best wishes to you.

  • My nephew, who lives near Pleasanton with his family, was recently diagnosed with a learning disability.  His family is now trying to navigate the educational bureaucracy and to ensure that his learning needs are being fully met.  The school district has dragged its feet and has not been very cooperative in making sure that his needs are met - it took years just for the school to agree to get him tested.  Since educational requirements and education policy are so complex and it's very difficult knowing how to navigate the system, his family is looking to retain the services of an education advocate.  My understanding is that this is the beginning of a very long road.  Does anyone have any advice for the family?  Perhaps even more importantly, do you have recommendations for an education advocate who serves the Pleasanton area?  Are there resources that the family should be connected to?  Any and all advice would be very, very welcome.

    Hi-we recently moved from the East Coast where special needs were addressed impressively well and now I too am trying to navigate a difficult process. In our previous area it was about partnering with the parents to create the best possible learning environment for the child. Here it is adversarial. And there was a ton of money in NJ for this and none here. I have learned that the lack of responsiveness isn't about not caring - it's about lack of capacity. This isn't an excuse but it helped me put it into perspective.

    i went to a good lecture by a special needs advocate sponsored by the special needs Pta in Pleasanton (I highly recommend joining). There were several special ed teachers in the lecture to hear about parents concerns. One came up to me and highly recommended the speaker as an advocate. I haven't used him, yet...but this may help.

    Todd Cary  Special education advocacy group 

    It's so sad that every parent with a newly diagnosed/assessed child has to reinvent the wheel unless someone they know has experience they can share or they happen to be pointed in the right direction by another agency. This all too often doesn't happen. I would be happy to share everything I know. I am in Oakland, but I have quite a bit of experience navigating and success in getting my son services and helping other parents. You can pass along my email address and if your family wants to talk, I can give them my number. In the meantime, there is the Regional Center (RCEB) http://www.rceb.org/ and DREDF https://dredf.org/ and a good website called Wright's Law http://wrightslaw.com/.


  • Advocate for IEP meeting

    (2 replies)

    I am looking for an excellent advocate who can help me with an IEP meeting. My daughter has had an IEP since 2006. I have not been satisfied with the outcomes. Does anyone have any recommendations. 


    From what I know about the IEP, they are difficult to get, even when problems arise with the kiddos. What specifically is the issue? I have heard of people advocating for IEP as well as private testing for IEP, which is the way some parents go if they are not happy with outcomes. I would say if your child already has an IEP, and your not getting the help you need you might want to either schedule a meeting to revisit the issue, or invite the head of your school district to attend the meeting with you. I know there are also alternative schools that help with children who have IEP type needs. I hope this is of some help. I have been through this with both children and finally in my daughters junior year, she is getting the help she needs. Private High Schools surprisingly can be great advocates. 

    Call the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) Education Advocates. They are the Parent Training & Information Center under IDEA for Alameda (and Contra Costa and Yolo) Counties and their services are free. 510.644.2555 

  • We are in the process of seeking an IEP from the WCCUSD and would like to find a professional advocate with experience working with this school district. We are also on a tight budget and have found at least one that is prohibitively expensive. Any recommendations of a good advocate, preferably on the west side of the tunnel, would be appreciated. Thank you!

    Try Disability Rights Education and Rights Fund (dredf.org)

    Betsy Brazy - https://brazylaw.com/ 

    brazylaw [at] gmail.com

    (510) 224-5146

    She has help me and 4 other people I know in getting the right accommodations and placement for our kids

    in the WCCUSD.  She knows her stuff and is great to work with.

    If you have a neuropsych eval they will often attend iep meetings with you. The advocate Judy True was pretty good. She worked in a way that did not alienate anyone.

    Another route is the cde, if you are having trouble you can reach out to them. (All those calls are recorded and reported to the school.)

    Selpas are trained by the schools legal so you may spin your wheels.

    Dredft in Berkeley may be of help.

    What seems to work for some is talking to the principle, the expense of a due process is steep and can be avoided. S/he can make school specialist available to help after school.

    Scotish rites language lab at lake merrit has services without the rigamerol.

    Its crazy making.

    I am a bit reluctant to share my educational consultant with you because she might get too busy! Just kidding... Theresa Lozac'h has been our educational consultant/advocate since my daughter started K and now she is in fourth grade. Theresa is simply great at assisting families and working with school to meet the needs of the child. I would guess her rates are reasonable compared with some of the astronomical sums being charged by almost all helping professionals these days. On yelp, Theresa is known by the company name Beyond Quality Consultants. Last I checked, every review is a 5. And yes, West CoCo County experience.

    I am in the middle of the process of my child "graduating " from a 504 to an IEP in the WCCUSD, and so far I would characterize all the district professionals involved as helpful, caring, and engaged. You didn't say what point you're at, but I'd say based on my experience there's a possibility you don't need to pay an advocate. There are also parent advocates you can connect with through the district, plus all the amazing resources of dredf.org.

    Adamsesq.Com is excellent legal advocate. They helped me with both of my kids. One they took on and other one they reviews and gave advice. I regretted not taking on special ed lawyer sooner; thought I could do it all. Talk directly related costs. Do they still end up billing district and u get refund?

Archived Q&A and Reviews


BUSD preschooler is not progressing, need an advocate

Nov 2011

Our son has been at a BUSD preschool program for special needs kids for almost a 1.5 years (it is not an integrated class) and we are seeing virtually no progress. He is on the spectrum and at 4.5 years old he has almost no language. We finally got 10 hours of ABA via Regional Center (that took 9 months) and that is making a difference. BIA of Emeryville is our provider and they are very good. In our last IEP BUSD said they would evalute for ABA this fall and now we are being told the district isn't offering ABA and any ABA they are provding is being 'phased out'. We are going to pay for additional hours to increase the intensity, but 15 hours per week isn't enough. Our next IEP isn't scheduled until April 2012. Has anyone out there had success with getting one- one-one support from BUSD, ABA, in-home programs paid for, etc.? Recently he was observed at school and it was suggested we pull him out becuase he is not getting the help and education he needs. Help! We need an advocate fast and any advice on strategies for BUSD would be welcome.

Amy Kossow amyadvocate [at] hotmail.com is the best advocate in town, particularly for kids with autism. She helped my son get 15 hrs/week of ABA while he was also in a BUSD preschool, with BIA. I simply cannot recommend her highly enough. My son is now in 4th grade and doing great and I'm sure it's because of Amy and BIA. However, I don't know that she's taking new clients right now, but hopefully she is. Jill



Special Education Advocate needed to help with son's IEP

Sept 2010

Looking for recommendations for a professional Special Education Advocate to help us with our son's intervention services and IEP. We reside in the Oakland Schoool district. Thank you

There are several ways to get the help. The first, and best, is to purchase a NOLO PRESS book on IEP's to understand the process. Then choose someone to help. Often, the district will offer an 'advocate' who may be helpful, but often is paid by the district and does not want to anger his or her employer and, therefore, does not fight very strong for your child. There are private advocate's; some are attorneys and some aren't. If it is a serious problem, an attorney may be best as his or her fees may be paid by the district if it goes to a hearing; a non-attorney may not get fees from the district. Finally, parents should rigorously prepare for the IEP meetings, with evaluations that are specific and directed to the problems your child has in school. All parents have the right to have their children evaluated, first by the district, and then, at the district's expense, by a professional of your choosing. These evaluations are often the key to obtaining the services your child needs. I have a special needs child and I am an attorney who does this type of work. Neil

We used www.Adamsesq.com. Ms. Adams and her staff are terrific. Both times she helped us and we got reimbursed for her services by the school district when we got what we needed. Looking back, I wish someone had referred us to a sp. ed lawyer. We had used an advocate in the past but that didn't work. Along the way, I have consulted with www.dredf.org Disability Rights Education... at 510-644-2555. Ask about your local SELPA parent meeting. They're great!! Several times I've called in upset needing a quick consult on an up-coming IEP. Take Care. Monica

To get your child assessed by the school district, you can request the assessment yourself. If you need help getting an assessment or receiving services for a special needs or disabled child, and you don't want to or can't work through a NOLO PRESS book, I recommend you call either


DREDF http://www.dredf.org/ phone:510.644.2555 located in Berkeley. They have sample letters on their website.


Family Resource Network https://familyresourcenavigators.org/



Matrix http://www.matrixparents.org/ phone: 800.578.2592

Don't have an address for SF area.

They have advocates that are free to you.

You do not need an attorney to start the process. Attorneys are valid for challenging cases, e.g. where services are not provided, but not needed to get an assessment.

Once you talk to one of the above, they can help you over the phone with what you need immediately. They also provide group trainings to understand the basics of Special Education law: the process, timelines, the school districts responsibilities, your basic rights.

Should you need an advocate for extended help, the above organizations will be able to refer to you independent advocates who will charge you. They also have a list of attorneys specialized in Special Education. Every child deserves a good education.


Need help getting school to comply with 504 plan

Jan 2004

I'm looking for an educational advocate to help me get my daughter's Oakland Public elementary school to comply with her 504 plan. There's an intriguing posting in the archives, but it contains no contact information for the advocate who is described as follows: ''He has never lost a case. Sharp as a tack. Sweet and funny, too. His non-combative nature during IEPs is all ordered and part of a plan. He can get you what you need.'' Sounds like what I'm looking for, but who is he? Anyone else like this around?


Have you checked out DREDF, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund? They have a website that has a lot of information about what they do and they are located in Berkeley: http://www.dredf.org/ I had a training recently from a parent advocate and was very impressed by her knowledge and advocacy. sherri