A special education advocate is an individual who works on your behalf to help you secure services for your child. Some advocates work for free, while others charge a fee for services. They have varying degrees of experience and many have a child themselves with special needs.
An advocate is much less expensive than an attorney and is the next step up from handling the case yourself. Fees for an advocate may be recoverable if a settlement hearing occurs.
Sample of services
- Listen to your situation and help you clarify your child’s needs
- Attend IEP meetings with you
- Draft correspondence with the district
- Suggest and explain services available through your district
- Explain how the FAPE process works at your district
- Attend mediation and hearings as your representative
- Recommend support groups, other parents, and specialists
Questions you should ask
- Have you been through the IEP process yourself as a parent?
- What types of cases have you worked on?
- What is your educational background?
- Have you been through any advocate training programs?
- Do you work for or under an attorney?
- Describe your role when during an IEP meeting.
- What do you enjoy and not enjoy about being an advocate?
- Conversation with …. An advocate at California Special Needs Law Group
- The Difference Between Special Education Advocates and Attorneys
- Ten Reasons Why You Should Have an Advocate For Your Child with Special Needs