Special Education Advocates
DREDF = the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (website: www.dredf.org ) DREDF is an information center funded by the US Department of Education, serving children from birth to age 22 with all disabilities: physical, cognitive, emotional, and learning. DREDF provides parent training and Education Advocates to help with special education issues.
Family Resource Network www.frnoakland.org The Family Resource Network in Oakland supports children 0-5 with medical, developmental or social-emotional concerns as well as individuals 0-21 with special health care needs.
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
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 http://www.frnoakland.org phone: 510-547-732 located in Oakland
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.
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