Featured Services

Nelson Advocacy Inc. is an advocacy company. We advocate for and serve our clients in many ways.

Housing

Ray Nelson is a licensed REALTOR with Nest Realty in Fredericksburg. Ray works with residential, land, and commercial clients and properties.

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Special Education Advocacy

Ray serves as a special education advocate for families of children with disabilities in public school systems across Virginia.

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Drum Circle Facilitation

Ray is a certified Drum Circle Facilitator and organizes drum circles for his community.

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What our clients say about us.

Here are some examples of what our clients think of our service.

My wife and I cannot recommend Ray enough. This was our first home buying experience and from the very first moment we met with Ray he made everything so easy. He gave sound advice, he was never pushy and no question we had was stupid. He took the time to make sure we knew exactly what we were doing every step of the way. Ray has a wealth of knowledge and was able to break things down for us in a way that was very easy to understand. My parents were so impressed with our experience that they are now looking to Ray to help them with their moving plans!

Johnny B.
Real Estate Client

Without Ray's help, my son would have drowned in an inappropriate environment. Instead, he is back to learning and loving school! Thank you!!!!

Amanda G
Special Education Advocacy Client

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Read up on our latest education advocacy news and tips!

Recent Blog Posts

Take a gander at our most recent blog posts.

BACK TO SCHOOL OPTIONS: VIRTUAL OR IN-PERSON?

 

 

I know every parent out there, whether their child has an IEP or not, is asking this question right now. I will provide my framework for making this decision and hopefully you can use these steps to make your own decision for your kids.

The first thing my wife and I considered was the benefit of in-person schooling. Our son loves going to school. He has friends and enjoys seeing them. He never has anything other than a "great" school day, so this is a real point in the favor of going back to school. Especially given the fact that he is autistic and his social skills have exploded in the last year.

That said, we do not believe that his interactions will be anywhere near the level they were prior to COVID-19. He will see fewer kids, and the current in-person options in our county only offer 2 days a week. So we asked ourselves "is the risk of exposure to the coronavirus worth 2 days of limited social interaction?"

Our answer was no. That's one strike for in-person school.

The next thing we considered was the risk. As we all know, news on the virus, what it does, how fast it spreads, and what we can expect afterward changes daily. In fact, we are one of many families experiencing "virus news fatigue" to the extent that we limit what we read on COVID-19. However, our son has a compromised immune system. His pediatric neurologist was concerned prior to attending school last year before anyone thought COVID could be a thing. We know for certain he is against him going back now.

So that's another no, because we listen to our doctors. In-person school gets a second strike.

The third thing to consider is whether or not he can adapt to virtual school. We have been fortunate enough for our son to attend a reading program virtually for the last couple months. He has made great strides and the instruction was 100% virtual. So our question was does he need in-person instruction to learn?

No again. Three strikes and you're out, in-person school.

I'm not sharing everything here, obviously. Other families have other challenges. My wife and I are both fortunate enough to work primarily from home. Not every family has that option. My job is flexible enough that I can schedule my work around my son's education and my wife's work schedule. Not everyone has that privilege. You need to make your own decision for your own child. Our hope is that by electing for virtual school we leave more spots open for kids who absolutely need in-person instruction.

Best of luck making this decision. Call me if you want to discuss it!

 

Black Lives Matter at Nelson Advocacy

BlackLivesMatteratNelsonAdvocacy

Black Lives Matter at Nelson Advocacy

Every socially aware company in the world has released some feel good supportive statement about BLM and ending racism. Many of these statements are simple pablum designed to sell something or promote some mythical value these companies claim to have had despite all evidence to the contrary.

This is not that statement.

I will detail what we have done, what we are doing now, and what we plan for the future to end systemic racism and ensure that Black Lives Matter.

The past

As an education advocate, I have witnessed  systemic discrimination first hand. Not only have I seen rampant disability discrimination against children of every race, I have seen specific and targeted racial decisions made against individual black students. I have documented and reported incidents where entire groups of black students were targeted en masse. I have seen video of my African-American clients assaulted by SROs (School Resource Officers) in our schools for doing nothing more than raising their voices. I have watched and fought against unequal punishments at multiple schools in multiple school districts where black students were punished for the same actions for which their white peers received no punishment at all.

It broke my heart.

And after that, it made me angry.

So here is what I will do with my anger.

The Present

While I am an educated person, I do not and cannot know everything. As a white male, I have benefitted from privilege my entire life, even though at times I did not see it.

I know this.

I have always known it, even at times when it was uncomfortable to admit.

So now I am reading more to learn. At the moment I am reading "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates and "Disrupting the School-To-Prison Pipeline" by Bahena, Cooc, and Currie-Rubin. Although I have worked for years to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline for my kids, I now realize that more targeted systemic action is required.

I am also reviewing my case files to see if there are instances where follow up actions are possible. My focus is always on the child first, and since I charge by the hour parents cannot always afford to deal with all the problems that exist. So to that end I plan to use the hours in my Advocacy Fund to help parents file additional complaints or write letters to address systemic race and disability based discrimination.

I say "race and disability based discrimination" for a reason. As an example, a non-disabled black student is 2 times more likely to be suspended than a non-disabled white  student. A disabled white student is 3 times more likely to be suspended than his non-disabled white peers. However, a black student with a disability is 5 times more likely to be suspended than a non-disabled white peer. These kids are hit hardest by the exclusionary discipline system we currently promote in schools.

The Future

This is where we are not sure what to do. This is our company, and Kelly and I make the decisions. That said, we are not people of color. We need feedback and guidance. We will soon send out a survey to our mailing list asking for feedback on our proposed future actions. We will also post it here when it is done.

It is important to us that we include the voices of those we represent in our actions. As the autistic adults as A.S.A.N. proudly state "nothing about us without us." We are willing to be guided by the voices of those who experience racism every day. If we don't listen to the folks who are affected then we will never solve the problem.

Right now we see a few major issues that need to be addressed.

  1. Remove SROs from schools.
  2. Extend the reporting time for Office of Civil Rights discrimination complaints from 6 months to 2 years.
  3. End exclusionary discipline practices in schools.
  4. End restraint and seclusion in schools.

These are the first 4 that come to mind. We will expound on them in future blog posts so folks can understand why they are important. However, we are open to other ideas.

Help us be the advocates our community needs, because if black lives don't matter then no lives matter.

Black

Lives

Matter.

The care and feeding of your M.A.S.C.

Howdy! You’re reading this because you probably received one of our masks and have some questions. The video above will answer most of your questions, but read on for anything it might not answer.

1. Your mask can be washed in the washing machine.

We prewash the fabric we get so it should not run or bleed once you get it. That said, if you want to wash it on its own first that probably isn’t a bad idea as I purchase the fabric. I don’t make it.

2. Your mask will fit a filter.

There is a 3″ gap at the top of your mask that you can use to insert a filter. Filter materials vary, but many folks use either coffee filters or shop towels. I’ll make a video showing how to insert a filter later, but for now just know that you can insert a filter if you like.

3. Your nose piece is replaceable if it wears out or falls out.

Just turn your mask inside out and look on the back side of the masks. There is a seam sewn in the middle of the mask. Lift up the flap and insert the nose piece through the middle section above the seam. I use pipe cleaners for the nose pieces, but a small piece of low gauge wire works too.

4. If your mask is too big:

You can tie off the elastic bands to make them smaller.

5. If your mask is too small:

You can make some extra elastic lengths and tie them in to the existing elastic. Hair bands make great extenders.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned here as I’m sure this will get updated frequently.

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