Before hiring an advocate, please consider the following. First, unlike attorneys, there are no licensing or certification requirements to become an advocate. Therefore, an “advocate” can be anyone from a retired Special Education Teacher, to a parent that has personally experienced the system with their own child. Second, while advocates are a cheaper and less confrontational choice than an attorney, they are not licensed to practice law in any state. Therefore, before you hire an advocate, please consider posing the following questions:

  1. What is their experience with Special Education advocacy? (length of time? Number of Cases? Age of students? Disabilities represented?)
  2. How do they believe you should proceed? What will you do? How long will it take?
  3. What involvement will they need/want from you?
  4. How do they communicate regularly with parents?
  5. How much do they charge? How much of a retainer do they require?
  6. When your case is finished, what happens to the documents they have collected?
  7. Will I be comfortable working with this person?
  8. Am I confident this advocate has the knowledge and experience I am looking for?
  9. Do I understand and agree with this advocates recommendations?
  10. Do I feel like this advocate respects my input? Do I feel comfortable politely disagreeing with this advocate?
  11. Do I understand and am I comfortable with this advocates fees and billing?

I graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s in Special Education, and a Master’s in Behavior Disorders. I worked as a high school Emotional Support Teacher for 12 years, prior to getting my supervisor certificate from Penn State. I worked as a Special Education Supervisor up until I moved to Maryland in October, 2013.

In my 25 years of experience, I have: participated in hundreds of IEP meetings; implemented individualized services for thousands of students; and participated in dozens of due process cases. As a result, I am very familiar with the policies, procedures, services; and potential road blocks parents may encounter in their search for appropriate services and programs.

In addition to my professional experience, I am also the father of two boys on the Spectrum. I know all too well what it feels like to: receive that diagnosis for the first time; work to learn all that you can about your child’s unique learning needs; try and educate and motivate school staff; passionately advocate for services (FAPE); get over emotional in IEP meetings; and fight vehemently with the school system to get the services you feel that your child deserves.

I am honored that you are considering my services, and I am committed to earning your trust. Based upon my professional and personal experience, I will consistently strive to provide you with individualized, experienced, professional, and empathetic advocacy services until such time as you are comfortable moving forward independently.