What is an IEP Advocate?  What do they do?  Do we really need one?  These were some of the questions my wife and I asked one another when faced with the prospect of the initial IEP meeting as our daughter was transitioning from VPK to Kindergarten.  Parents of children with special needs tend to flock together and share experiences.  After hearing some of the stories of other parents who had some pretty horrible experiences with the school, we decided to do some research and find an IEP Advocate to help us.  We were thankful we did.

IEP Advocates, also known as Special Education Advocates, assist parents of children with developmental disabilities to obtain special education services and accommodations in their public school.  Although not a lawyer, the advocate helps the parents represent the child’s legal rights to a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment under the current federal and state laws.  Advocates are well-versed on the current laws and procedures for special education and can help parents navigate the special education process.

21 & Change will provide parents with current and relevant information, initial review, procedural best practices, and preliminary support for the development and sustainment of effective Individualized Education Program (IEP).  We can assist parents with preparation for meetings, follow-up actions, and if necessary provide direct advocate assistance at meetings with the child’s school administrators and teachers.  Our goal is to educate you and assist you with understanding and operating within the special education process in the public school system.  We do this at no cost to the parents.

Our IEP Advocates are trained and experienced and we are part of a peer-to-peer network at the local and national level.  We partner with an integrated network of IEP advocate professionals who can further support the parents should the situation require the services of a full-time advocate.  These services are not free of charge, and if there is a need for financial assistance, 21 & Change has an IEP Advocacy Scholarship program that can help (click our “IEP Scholarship” tab for more information).

Please remember, your child is a citizen of our Nation and he/she deserves all of the rights, freedoms, and protections guaranteed under the United States Constitution and its 27 amendments.  Nothing more, and nothing less.  If you have any questions, or you feel you may need our support, please fill out the support request with your information and a description of your issue or need.  Someone will respond to your request in 24-48 hours.

IEP Advocacy Support Request Form

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    Child with Down Syndrome at the MLB All Star Game playing catch on the field

    Meet Our IEP Advocates:

    Sandy Santeiro
    Bilingual Educational Advocate & Master IEP Coach

    Melissa Mangino
    Florida Professional Special Education Advocates
    Florida Professional Special Education Advocates – (Florida-advocate.com)

    Meghan Delude
    Unique IEP Advocacy

    Jennifer Wojcik
    IEP Partner
    IEP Specialists — IEP Partner

    Debra A. Smith-Mitchell
    Debra Mitchell-Educational Consultant and Associates, Inc.

    DISCLAIMER – 21 & Change, Inc., and any certified IEP Advocate or Volunteer working with 21 & Change, Inc., is not a practicing attorney and does not provide legal advice or legal services. 21 & Change, Inc., and anyone working with or representing 21 & Change, Inc., cannot and does not guarantee any specific outcome.

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