FAQ’s about Advocacy Services

 YOU WOULD NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON YOUR CHILD. Well, NEITHER WOULD WE!

Q: What is advocacy? Do I really need it? I do not want the school to think of me as a troublemaker or  refuse to help my child.

A:  Advocacy is a way to level the playing field so to speak. We help you to define and describe how you want the program to work for your child. If you have ever been told that the school can’t or doesn’t do something, your child has as much of a program or service that is possible with his or her level of functioning, or your requests are unreasonable, we can support you.  We know the law, we know assessments, we know your rights, and we know how the system should work together

If you are having difficulty getting the school to listen to your concerns or questions about your parental rights, child’s services, programs, evaluations, or teachers, we are happy to either arrange a consultation or attend ARD meetings with you. We can help you review IEPs, work with the school, and explain to you what to expect at your IEP meeting,  help your voice to be heard, and your ideas to count.  We are a great alternative to  lawyers and sometimes more well received by school districts. We believe in collaborative advocacy. Therefore, our goal is to see our parents as partners with the school rather than adversaries. If you are not getting what you need from the school, a knowledgeable advocate can usually get to the heart of the matter. If you are reading this page, you would probably benefit from our services. Adina Rich has been honored by the CCAEYC as the 2013 Collin County Advocate of the Year!!

Q: What makes you the best advocates for us?

A: We have developed a philosophy of empowering parents to advocate for their child. We have a wealth of experience in evaluation, programming, transitions, mediation, conflict resolution, coaching,and communication strategies. When you hire us, you know you will be supported through all layers of the process. We listen, we act, and we will support you through the process where your voice will be heard.

Q: My child is struggling in school but the school says my child is too young to be evaluated, and they want to wait until he is in second grade. Can they do that? 

A: The short answer is No. If you suspect that your child has a disability that is keeping him from learning, you have a right to ask for your child to be evaluated under Child Find.

Q: How long does the school have to test my child and in what areas will my child be tested?

A: Federal law dictates that school has 60 calendar days to test your child and 30 days from that date to call an ARD/IEP meeting to discuss the results and to determine whether a child meets eligibility criteria as a student with a disability under state and federal guidelines. If your child does meet eligibility an Individual Education Plan must be developed including specific goals and objectives designed to remediate your child’s progress. In Texas, the school has 45 school days from the date of consent to test your child and then 30 days to call the ARD/IEP meeting to discuss the results and determine whether a child meets eligibility for services as a student with a disability under state and federal guidelines.

Q:  What is inclusion and should my child have that?

A: Inclusion is time spent in a general education classroom with neurotypical, same aged peers. The short answer is, again, yes, although there are many factors that could influence or support how inclusion looks for each child.

Q: I  don’t think my child’s IEP is appropriate. Can you help with that?

Q: There are things written in my child’s IEP that aren’t being followed. Can you help with that?

A:  Yes, we can.  It helps if you can highlight areas of concern or provide anecdotal records or other documentation.

Q: Can you help students on 504 plans?

A: Yes, we can assist you with development of 504 supports, teacher accommodations, learning interventions and more. We attend 504 meetings as well.

Q: Do you ever go to trainings or continuing education to learn about changes in special education programming and legal requirements?

A:  We attend workshops and meetings regularly. All of our staff are trained annually in legal requirements, have specializations in assessment, behavior plans, disability requirements, assistive technology supports, IEP documentation, inclusion support, goal writing, and monitoring of objectives. We are also trained in best practices for bullying, restraint, positive behavior supports, discrete trial, and social skills training. We have extensive training in conflict resolution, mediation, and IEP facilitation.

Q: If we want to hire you to help us, how does that work?

A: Contact us to request a consultation. We meet with you, discuss your concerns, review paperwork, and determine the best course of action. We offer several options for our families, including hourly rates, retainer contracts, and payment plans. We can talk you and walk you through or assist you with parts of the complaint process. We also can refer you to a knowledgeable attorney if the need arises. We require a non-refundable deposit of $125.00 to be applied toward advocacy services when booking your consultation. In the event that your meeting is cancelled or otherwise re-scheduled, the fee can be applied toward future meeting or consultations. Unfortunately, unless prior arrangements have been made, in the event our services are not needed, we are not able to offer cash or credit refunds.

Q: My child needs additional behavior or discipline supports, but the school says it’s not necessary. Do I have other options?

A: Absolutely! Parent input and participation are key elements of the ARD/IEP process.

Q: Do you ever conduct trainings and workshops for parents or teachers?

A: Yes, all the time! Check our calendar of events for more information or call or email to set us up to speak to your group today!

If your question isn’t listed, call or e-mail us and we’ll be happy to help you.

The answers presented here are intended  only as a guide, and may not be appropriate for all situations. If you need help with a specific situation or conflict, please contact us directly.