What to Expect
You don’t have to go it alone. Our advocates are with you every step of the way, from diagnosis to adulthood—at home through our Family Services and in the classroom through Special Education Advocacy.
Frequently Asked Questions
While each state has some differences in the way the laws are implemented, IDEA is a federal law and as such is applicable in every state. We are happy to complete a virtual appointment should you not live within driving distance.
We are non-attorney advocates and cannot provide legal advice. If you are wondering whether you need an attorney, it’s not a bad idea to consult one. Many will do an initial consultation at no charge. Every situation is unique and as such the question of “advocate or attorney” depends on the specific situation.
Advocacy involves speaking on behalf of, supporting, defending, and pleading on behalf of someone else. Advocacy promotes equality, social inclusion, and social justice, typically for marginalized groups, including those with disabilities.
A special education advocate supports and defends the rights of students with disabilities. A SPED advocate will typically review documentation and assessments, prepare for and attend ARD or 504 meetings, and request accommodations and supports for students with disabilities.
If you have ever left an ARD or 504 meeting feeling frustrated, confused, or unhappy with the education your child with a disability is receiving, then you should consider hiring a special education advocate. A SPED advocate will help you know your rights and has experience working with schools to ensure students with disabilities receive the accommodations and supports they are entitled to.
A 504 advocate specializes in working with parents of students with disabilities who have a 504 plan in place. They advocate on behalf of the student to secure appropriate accommodations that will encourage academic success in the classroom.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 guarantees certain rights to people with disabilities, including the rights of students attending elementary and secondary education to receive accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legal document that is developed for each child receiving special education within the public school system and includes the accommodations and specialized instructions the child will receive.
An IEP also includes present levels of academic achievement, annual goals, a list of special education services for the student, the frequency of reporting progress to parents, state and district assessments, appropriate extracurricular activities, and a description of the instructional setting and lengths of the student’s school day.
There are 13 categories of qualification for an IEP.
An IEP consultant, also referred to as an IEP advocate, assists the parents of a child with a disability to understand their rights and navigate the special education process within the public school system, while advocating for the best interests of the child.
While both a 504 and an IEP provide for accommodations to students with disabilities, only an IEP provides for specialized instruction. Also, a 504 is for students in primary schools, secondary schools, and in college; while an IEP is limited to primary and secondary schools.
Yes, while it is possible to have both an IEP and a 504, it is unlikely for a child to need both. Everything that is included in a 504 can be included in an IEP. An IEP, however, can include specialized instruction, while a 504 cannot.
Yes, parents may bring other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child.
Federal law does not require a school to invite parents to 504 meetings. However, most schools will be happy to have parents attend. We have attended many 504 meetings with parents.