John is an Elder Law attorney practicing in Pasadena, California. He became an Elder Law attorney in large part due to his experience caring for his mother. She was afflicted with a neurodegenerative disease in early middle age.

At about 11 months we suspected our son has autism.  However, it was not until 24 months that we finally found someone who would confirm our concerns, and at that time, fears!

As you already know, understanding the best path forward for kids is daunting. Especially so in the beginning when we know the least.

Sometimes (more than sometimes for me), we need the advice and help of an expert. At CSNLG we have a list of providers with specific expertise in various areas. We are continuing our efforts to bring those experts, and their knowledge, to you.

Take a look at our experts page to see who we recommend and have worked with in the past. Check back once in a while as we are continuing to add more folks.

If you don’t see anybody that fits your needs, feel free to reach out to us.

Valerie Aprahamian, Founder of Advocates For Angels, is a Non-Attorney Advocate, Author, Teacher of Special Education Law, and Speaker. Valerie’s life work has been to assist parents of special needs children in the development of their child’s Individual Education Program (IEP)—to enable each child to reach the highest expression of themselves and fulfill their potential in living a meaningful life.

Lynda is an Educational Consultant and Advocate who helps families with the Special Education process to receive the best placement and services for their special needs child.

Bonnie is a special education advocate and parenting coach who helps parents find solutions to help their children overcome their special ed challenges.

As a special ed mom herself, Bonnie has dedicated the last 11 years to researching solutions to help her oldest son who was diagnosed PDD-NOS in 2009.

She is the author of Special Ed Mom Survival Guide: How to prevail in the special ed process while discovering life-long strategies for both you and your child.

She has a masters in educational counseling and another in spiritual psychology. She is an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor and PPS credentialed School Counselor.

Barbara Major is mom to two kids, one of whom has autism. She has a corporate background in educational technology where she worked over 10 years with educators to ensure student achievement. She transitioned out of corporate work to concentrate on helping her child with autism.

Like many parents of children with special needs she was led into advocacy when she needed to advocate for her own child.

Marta V. Leyva, M.A. is the owner of Voz de Victoria, a bilingual (Spanish / English) special education advocacy and educational consulting firm that has been supporting parents in for the last 8 years. She currently works to improve the lives of children with disabilities and their families by creating a collaborative partnership between parents/guardians and school/educational teams to ensure students receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) while having both their academic and social/emotional needs met.

Mr. Eisenberg has provided advocacy assistance and representation to over 1,000 families with special needs since 1984. He has represented families in the education process at Individual Education Planning meetings, Mediations, and Resolution meetings; Individual Program Planning meetings, Mediations, Informal Meetings and Fair Hearings for Regional Center services and Eligibility. He has facilitated workshops for support groups on special education issues and the Lanterman Act. He specializes in working with families using interest based negotiations in a non-adversarial relationship. Mr. Eisenberg is also a parent of special needs children.

Kim Taylor’s passion for advocating started at a young age. Both of her brothers had their own unique learning challenges and their parents actively advocated for them.

 

 

This is a summary of the third edition of CSNLG’s Beginner’s Guide to the IEP. In this podcast, host Michael Boll and CSNLG attorney/advocate Linaja Murray discuss what happens during the IEP meeting and what it feels like to be there. The podcast can be found here.

What is the atmosphere like?

  • The atmosphere is collaborative — the one purpose of the meeting is to identify the student’s strengths/deficits and how to address each area of concern.
  • You may be nervous or on edge at the beginning, which is totally normal, as a parent you are likely concerned for your child.

Who is there? What are their roles?

  • About 12 people will be present, this may include:
    • General education teacher.
    • Teachers who assist with your child, such as a special day class teacher and SAI teacher.
    • Assessors, such as the school psychologist
  • At a triennial IEP meeting, all assessors will be present
    • For some children, assessors may be an occupational therapist or a speech and language pathologist.

What should I bring to the IEP meeting?

  • Notebook to take notes.
  • A friend, family member, or someone else who supports you

Assessments should be provided to you in advance

  • Request these about ten days before the IEP meeting so you can familiarize yourself with them

What should I take away from the IEP meeting?

  • Copies of everything discussed

What is the difference between an annual IEP and a triennial IEP?

  • At the triennial IEP meeting there are a lot of assessments to go over such as the psychoeducational assessment.
  • This will also include ancillary assessments, such as speech and language, OT, visual, audio processing, or behavior assessments depending on your child’s specific needs.
  • At the annual IEP meeting, these assessments are not necessary — annual IEPs tend to be shorter, with much fewer people involved.

What does the process of the IEP meeting look like?

  • The IEP meeting is called.
  • A teacher or district representative will ask to do introductions where each person will give their name and title.
  • The meeting then starts; an agenda may be followed.
  • The strengths of the student will be shared.
  • The progress and goals of the student will be shared and whether goals have been met or not
  • Feedback from people in charge of those goals will be shared.
  • Parents can weigh in to discuss whether they believe goals have been met.
  • Services and accommodations (such as extra time during testing, preferential seating, behavioral aid) are discussed. This is when FAPE is brought up: special education and related services that your child should be receiving.
  • As a parent, you should get as much in writing as possible.
    • This process tends to be toward the end of the IEP meeting.

This summary is part of our complete Beginner’s Guide to the IEP