I believe in a collaborative team model when constructing a service plan, Individual Education Plan (IEP), 504 plan, or Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP.) Team collaboration is absolutely the best way to ensure your child receives a quality education through the public school system. My goal is to put the parents in the drivers seat of the IEP team.
I began special education advocacy with my son, who is autistic and has PANS/PANDAS. He has been on some sort of plan since he was 2 1/2 years old. I learned quickly that the IEP system is not an even handed way of providing services, and that often schools are more concerned with their resource allocation than providing appropriate services to children with special needs. After having success with my son, friends began asking me for assistance at their IEP meetings.
I also started a play group for kids with autism with some other parents, and we began hosting a monthly support group for parents. This led to 5 years of volunteering with the Autism Society of Northern Virginia, and eventually becoming the board president in 2014. Throughout this time I continued to advocate for other families free of charge as a way of giving back to the community that had helped us so much.
In late 2014 I pressed pause for personal reasons, but I continued to help advocate for folks when I could. in 2016, my brilliant wife suggested I begin charging a small fee for my advocacy in order to help more people. I started working by referral only in mid 2016 and received a steady stream of clients. I have been advocating steadily since then!
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