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A special education advocate is hired to work with the parents, on behalf of the student and the student’s family, to help the family with special education services.  An advocate can help families navigate through the special education laws and provide tools to help the child receive the services that are in their best interest.  Often, schools use a long list of acronyms that can be confusing to parents.  An advocate can help provide support to ensure the student is receiving all the services required by law.
Special education advocates are not attorneys and cannot practice law or give legal advice. Attorneys can practice law, provide legal advice, drat legal documents, and represent clients in court.  
An advocate can assist you in reaching out to an attorney. Call our office today for a free consultation. 


What does a special education advocate do?


Special education advocates assist parents with understanding and participating in the special education process. The following items will give you an idea of how an advocate might be able to assist your family. How much the advocate does is up to you. You may choose to have a special education advocate work in an advisory role for you behind the scenes, or you may choose to have the advocate be much more involved in obtaining, maintaining, and monitoring your child’s special education services.

  • A special education advocate should know the federal and state laws pertaining to special education services, and should, ideally, know policies and procedures used in your school district or by your Early Intervention (EI) agency. A good special education advocate can explain the laws and policies to you in a way you can understand.

  • A special education advocate should be familiar with different kinds of assessments and reports, so that she or he can explain them to you, and even recommend a type of assessment that might be helpful to obtain.

  • A special education advocate can refer you to private service professionals who can conduct Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs) or provide other services as needed.

  • A special education advocate can review and explain to you your child’s educational record, including evaluations and testing, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and progress reports.

  • A special education advocate should know about services and supports which may be helpful for your child. The advocate should be able to objectively analyze the quality of your child’s education program to determine if your child’s needs are being met.

  • A special education advocate can help you organize your materials so that you can stay organized.

  • A special education advocate can help you prepare for meetings related to your child’s special education program – especially meetings to discuss reevaluations and IEPs or Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs).

  • A special education advocate can help parents write appropriate IEP/IFSP goals and objectives and suggest appropriate supports and accommodations.

  • A special education advocate can accompany parents to meetings and assist in the negotiation process between parents and the school.

  • A special education advocate can review important documents, such as the IEP/IFSP or NOREP (Notice of Recommended Educational Placement), before you sign them.

  • A special education advocate can help you draft letters and written requests to your school or EI agency.

  • A special education advocate can assist you in understanding dispute resolution procedures and can help you assess the strength of your case. He or she should refer you to a special education attorney when needed.

  • A special education advocate should teach you how to become a better, more effective advocate for your child and should help you identify ways for your child to become more independent and able to advocate for him or herself.


Information provided by Carautismroadmap 

Contact Nicole Bankhead for more information on how we can help you navigate through the IEP process within the school.