Advocacy / RepresentationWe work with families to resolve disputes with the school district in a collaborative manner. We help parents understand the special education process as well as empowering them to advocate for their child. Our advocates will review educational records, attend IEP and 504 meetings, and perform classroom observations if necessary. PCA offers a unique co-advocacy option for parents to work with two advocates. Our philosophy is the same as the idea of an IEP team that unites specialists in different areas to work together in the best interest of the child: we offer two professionals with different areas of strength, knowledge, and background to provide even more expertise, knowledge, and balance to help facilitate a child-centered solution.
- Single or Dual Representation
- Attend IEP and 504 meetings
- Perform classroom observations
- Review educational records, and private and/or school Assessment Reports (can do review of assessments as a standalone service)
- In preparation for IEP advocates will propose goals, review supportive evidence and materials.
- Will draft letters and written requests to school
- Will draft complaints to the State Department of Education
How We Helped Kami, a San Diego Mom
Parent came to PCA out of fear for the safety of her child at school. He was attending a developmental preschool. She needed the support of her two advocates to help articulate her concerns in a way that the school team would hear and ensure that she was asking all the appropriate and needed questions. The parent felt she was having to wear multiple hats (parent, advocate etc.) so having the two advocates allowed the parent to just be the parent and speak from the parent perspective at the IEP meeting while the advocates were able to be the mouthpiece for effective communication.
“I used the advocacy services of Pacific Coast Advocates in October 2011. We had issues with my son’s developmental preschool regarding safety and some concerns about his upcoming IEP. From the moment I contacted the company for their services, I received prompt responses and professional communication. From the point of hire, I was in constant communication with my primary advocate via email and phone calls. She answered all my questions, informed me about relevant special education laws, and provided suggestions for next steps. She validated my concerns, but remained calm and provided alternate views of the situations. I felt like I had someone in my corner throughout the entire process. Prior to the IEP meeting, I had a phone conference with both of my advocates and we went over the main concerns that needed to be addressed. Attending the IEP meeting with the advocates helped me feel more calm and positive. During the meeting, they were able to help me articulate the concerns I had and ask the questions that I didn’t know to ask. They were kind and professional to the school staff and helped maintain a pleasant environment. After the meeting, they reviewed our IEP and helped me request the changes that we wanted. I received excellent service from Pacific Coast Advocates and that their fees were very fair. I would recommend them to any other parents of children with special needs and will definitely use them again if the need arises.”
—Kami San Diego Mom
CoachingWe will help coach/educate parents with children who have special needs regarding all parts of an IEP or 504 plan and their parent rights. We address their concerns while helping parents build their knowledge so that they can better advocate for their child’s needs in the future without the expense of hiring an advocate for every IEP meeting. Coaching can be to used to help a parent prepare for an upcoming IEP, review an IEP before parent signs, review assessment reports or help provide parents with community resources. The advocate(s) do not attend any IEP or 504 meetings with coaching.
- Meet with parents in office or via phone
- Advise of parent rights
- Education to purpose of IEP/504 parts
- Review records and assessment reports
- Propose goals areas and areas of concern
- Recommend attorneys if needed
- Single or Dual Coaching
HOW WE HELPED THIS SAN DIEGO FAMILY
“Getting a medical diagnosis for our first born child was overwhelming. We didn’t know where to even begin with who to contact or what services/supports to start with. The internet has so much information on it but it is just simply overwhelming. We needed someone to be our filter. Our pediatrician recommended Pacific Coast Advocates as our starting point to not “advocate” for us but to coach us on what the early intervention looks like, when we need to be looking at a transition into an IEP, where are good services in our area of San Diego and what are the key things we should be aware of in regards to our son’s needs when we are looking at his educational needs. Our advocate helped us understand the difference between a medical diagnosis and educational eligibility along with supporting us in where we should focus our time in getting supports our son needs. We developed a strategic list of where we were that day and what where our next more immediate steps to take. I can’t express just how helpful it was to have that filter helping us to outline where we needed to focus our time, money and energy!”
“I contacted PCA because I wanted to have a better understanding of the draft IEP I was sent from my daughter’s school before the meeting. I chose coaching because I want to learn how to advocate for my daughter myself (what questions to ask, who should be at the meetings etc.). I felt confident after my session to attend the IEP on my own.”
SpeakingOur Advocates use their expertise to train and educate groups of individuals in a variety of subjects around the IEP and 504 process and their supporting documents. We travel speak to small and large groups with prepared materials that can be customized to the needs of the audience. Contact us to discuss options and fees.
- Small and large audiences
- Customized presentations
- Conferences, Education Settings, Support Groups, etc.
- Providing Resources
- Question/Answer time
HOW WE HELPED OUR COMMUNITY
PCA was asked to speak at a local San Diego Mosque on the different options for education. Several children within the Muslim community at this Mosque had been experiencing bullying at the local schools and parents wanted to educate themselves on the options available to them. PCA presented on the differences and options for public schools, private schools, public charter schools as well as home schooling. PCA has presented on: Finding balance in the home, Effective behavior practices, Demystifying the IEP, IEP verse 504- what’s the difference
“I attended a presentation through 1p36 group (1p36 Deletion Syndrome). Christy Scadden and Patricia Palguta were a couple of the speakers and they were fantastic! The topic was ‘DEMYSTIFYING THE IEP’ and they really did a great job breaking everything down in a way that was easy to understand.”