Category Archives: General

Take 5.

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Take time to be reminded why IEP’s matter. With Special Education we must keep the focus on the child who needs our help.

1. Every child deserves to have their rights protected even if they have a disability—every child matters;

2. Every child deserves to have a chance to lead a productive and independent life, to be taught life skills that will help them gain employment in the future, to have a chance to continue in post-secondary education;

3. Every child deserves to be taught based on their unique needs, not at a pre-determined pace but at their own pace;

4. Every child deserves a chance to learn how to interact with people and make friends—socialization is a big part of the curriculum and education experience;

5. Every child deserves a chance to be inspired and not feel like an outcast for being different, to find their own voice and self-advocate for themselves.

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SST? IEP? BIP? Three Reasons To Hire an Advocate ASAP

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There are times when children need focus, support or services in order to achieve his or her potential. When your child is the topic of long meetings with staff members at school—during which objectives and evaluations are discussed using confusing acronyms—the process can be overwhelming. It can be helpful to hire an advocate to guide and support you through the process and to the desired results.

Here are three key reasons to hire an Advocate, or at least consult with one, immediately when your child is subject to school district proceedings.

OPTIMAL OUTCOME FOR CHILD IN SCHOOL DISTRICT PROCEEDINGS
While most staff members do consider a child’s best interest, there are times when conflicting and contrasting goals get in the way of objective clarity. In our current economic climate, members of IEP teams are frequently admonished by their higher ups to cut existing services and/or deny new services. It is not legal for decisions to be made regarding appropriate placement/services for students with special needs based on monetary concerns. ONLY a student’s unique and individual needs can drive placement and services. In this, an Advocate brings experience—an awareness of the possibilities, familiarity with the tools and knowledge of the process. With this, an Advocate can help ensure the best possible result of efforts on behalf of your child.

According to Elissa Henkin, MA, Advocate and Special Education Consultant from Thousand Oaks, CA “As school district funding for special education programs and services shrink, IEP teams are becoming more creative in their ways of rationalizing decreases in services and increases in class size.” An Advocate will help steer the process keeping focus on your child’s needs. “Your child’s unique and individual needs are the ONLY factors that drive appropriate placement and services,” Henkin says.

SCHOOL DISTRICT TEAM vs GUARDIAN OF CHILD
The school team is a close knit group of teachers, principal and school personnel. When seated together across the table, it can leave a parent feeling outnumbered. Having an Advocate can help guide you through the process and offer the support you need preparing for the meeting(s), proceeding with professionalism, and following up with the agreements.

THE PROCESS IS EMOTIONAL
First, the process involves your child—so it is emotional. You are more vulnerable when negotiating because your heart is in the center of it. You want the best for your child, and an Advocate can help you navigate the process with clarity, objectivity and experience.

Again, Henkin reminds that “YOU are the world’s foremost expert on your child’s needs. YOU are your child’s greatest advocate.” And an Advocate can help support you in this journey.

For more information, feel free to visit www.ElissaHenkin.com

Testimonial from EM of Agoura Hills

alphabetElissa has worked with our family since my son was in 5th grade and we hired her to advocate on his behalf since at the time my wife and I were wholly unfamiliar with special education and the IEP process.

My son is now in his second year of college and I can say unequivocally that he would never have made it to college without Elissa’s assistance. She was strong in her approach with the school district and thorough in her knowledge of both the fact of our case as well as our rights as parents of a special needs child. She was (and is) always available to take my calls, no matter where she was. And her fees are incredibly reasonable for all the work she did. I would have spent much, much more for the welfare of my child and for all she did. Both my wife and I recommend Elissa often to all parents who need to have an advocate for their special needs child … which is all parents who ever have to attend and IEP.

~ E.M. Agoura Hills

Testimonial from MB of Pacific Palisades

Hands touching a globeHaving a child with special needs can be a living nightmare unless you have angels like Elissa Henkin to deliver you from the morass of bureaucratic stumbling blocks and educational trials that come with navigating the therapeutic school system. We owe both our son’s success and our parental peace of mind to Elissa Henkin who, with great grace and skill, has fought for us and managed our boy’s case for the past ten years. She is highly knowledgeable and works diligently for her clients with a sincere heart and admirable professionalism. We recommend this advocate’s top-notch assistance to parents struggling to obtain the school setting and services their special child needs.

~ M.B., Pacific Palisades

Testimonial from EA of Pacific Palisades

thumbs upI give the highest recommendation to Elissa Henkin I could possibly give. She has been by our side since our special needs son was 3. We thought we could handle the IEP process on our own, but sadly we were wrong. Elissa consulted with us, came to our second IEP and turned things around for us.

The school district wanted to send our son to a special needs school when he is clearly capable of general Ed. She fought for him and we got everything we wanted and more. She has since attended every IEP we have had, and each IEP meeting is smooth and easy. She is very reasonably priced, she is knowledgeable. and she has good relationships with the schools. I am grateful to have her has a resource and have recommended her to countless friends who have been equally as happy.

~ E.A., Pacific Palisades