We get involved at the school and local level to help children receive the education, accommodations and services that are vital to their success. We help navigate the world of special education for a wide range of children, from children just entering preschool, to students transitioning from high school into further education and employment. We proudly serve the Northern Virginia community, including Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, the City of Falls Church and the City of Alexandria.
IEP and 504 Plan Review
Individualized Educational Plans, or IEPs, and Section 504 Plans are both useful tools that can provide children with necessary services and accommodations in school. While there are similarites in these plans, there are also many differences. IEPs and 504 Plans arise out of two different federal laws. They have different purposes, different eligibility considerations, and different procedural safeguards. An evaluation will determine which plan is more appropriate for your child. When your child's IEP or 504 Plan needs to be improved or modified, we work with you and your child's school to tailor it to your child's unique needs.
Placement and Least Restrictive Environment
Special education is provided in a variety of settings. Schools must educate children with disabilities with children who are not disabled "to the maximum extent appropriate." Proper classroom placement in the least restrictive environment is often essential to allowing your child to thrive intellectually, socially and emotionally. Knowledge of your child's strengths and needs inform placement. We help the school to consider the total picture of your child before making any placement decisions.
Aids, Services, and Supports
There is a myriad of accommodations that the school system can provide your child. "Supplementary aids and services" are aids, services and supports that are provided in regular education classes that enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate. "Related services" are services that are necessary for a child with a disability to benefit from special education. Your child's needs are unique, and the aids, services and supports most appropriate are as unique as your child. We take a collaborative approach to advocacy, and will work with any provider with knowledge of your child's needs, whether the school system or a private evaluator, to advocate for the most appropriate services for your child.
"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them."
— LADY BIRD JOHNSON, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES
School Record and Evaluation Review
Attention to detail is a hallmark of our advocacy practice. IEPs and 504 Plans are informed by many different kinds of records, evaluations and observations. All relevant records and evaluations will be reviewed thoroughly. Progress reports, report cards, behavior reports, special education evaluations, and private neuropsychological or other private evaluations related to your child's disability, as well as the current and prior IEPs and 504 plans that are informed by them, will be examined for consistency and inconsistency, progress and lack of progress.
Meeting Preparation and Representation
Our managing member, Kimberly Greenspan, will attend any education-related meetings where her attendance is in the best interest of your child. Determination of whether your child qualifies for special education services can be complicated, and that is just the beginning of your journey with the school system when your child has a disability. Following an eligibility determination, how do you ensure that all appropriate services are being considered and provided? Can you establish a rapport with the decisionmakers? Are they examining your child's record thoroughly? Is the school complying with federal and state laws and regulations? Kimberly will help to provide answers to these and other critical questions ahead of time. You can walk into your child's meeting with an ally, confident that you are prepared.
Mediation, Due Process and Complaints
There are times when conflicts between parents and schools cannot be resolved through informal channels. Mediation, due process complaints, resolution sessions, due process hearings, manifestation determination reviews and state complaints are specific procedural protections provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provide separate procedural protections, and complaints under these statutes can be filed with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. We evaluate every situation judiciously, and recommend whether more formal steps should be taken on a case by case basis.
The step towards obtaining educational parity for your child begins with a 20 minute complimentary telephonic initial consultation. During this call, Kimberly will listen to you so that she can understand the issues that you and your child are facing. Initial consultations are provided to families considering hiring an educational advocate. Specific advice narrowly tailored to your child's needs will be provided upon engagement of services.
Upon engagement, Kimberly will review relevant documentation from the school system, including all relevant IEPs, 504 Plans, progress reports, report cards, behavior reports, special education evaluations, and private neuropsychological or other private evaluations related to your child's disability or special education needs, and any other records that you believe will help her to work in partnership with you. We will then talk about our next steps and goals, which will provide the framework for both short term and long term plans as we work as a team for your child.
Please contact us to set up an initial consultation.