Special Education Advocate in Connecticut


What is a special education Advocate?

A special education advocate is a non-attorney professional with training and expertise who can assist parents in securing educational rights for their child with disabilities.


Why hire an advocate?

The process of securing appropriate educational services can be intimidating, time-consuming, and emotionally-draining. Parents wish to participate in the decision-making; but often feel frustrated, overwhelmed and outnumbered at the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meetings.

An advocate can help the parents to make sense of the process; first and foremost by explaining that the parents and the child have educational rights. At the most basic level, the child has the right to a “free and appropriate public education” (FAPE) and the parents have the right to participate, on an equal footing with the other members of the team, in the decision making process that determines the specific educational program for the child.

An advocate works with the parents in gathering information, organizing documents, making requests and negotiating with the school. The parents remain in charge, with the advocate providing the technical skill to navigate the system.

The ultimate goal of the special education advocate is to provide the parents with the tools necessary to confidently and competently advocate, on their own, for their child. The parents know the child best. The strategies, the negotiating skills, and the law can be taught, over time, so that the advocate will no longer be necessary. And eventually, the parents can teach the child self-advocacy skills, so that independent living and self-sufficiency can be realized.

161 East Avenue, Suite 104, Norwalk, CT 06851
E-Mail:
gerri.fleming@gmail.com
The Advocacy Office of Gerri Fleming, LLC concentrates on matters related to special education and disability protection for children and young adults. The office is located in Norwalk in lower Fairfield County, but serves all of Connecticut. Gerri Fleming is available for consultations on special education issues under IDEA, FERPA, and section 504. She can also provide information on Birth to Three services, ADA issues, OCR complaints, disability harassment/bullying, and transition. Gerri Fleming is a non-attorney special education advocate providing information, not legal advice or counsel.