Special Needs Consulting and Advocacy

Some individuals who have special needs have difficulty with reading, writing, math, behavior, emotional regulation, organizational skills, social skills, sensory issues, speech, or physical challenges. These individuals may undergo psychiatric, psychological, or educational testing after which they may receive diagnoses. Those diagnoses might include the following terms: Autism Spectrum Disorder,  bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, ADHD, Executive Function Disorder, dyslexia, sensory-processing disorder,  dyscalculia, and many others.

Having a disability does not mean that the person requires specialized educational services, however some children and adults require either modified instruction or services or accommodations. Those students who require modified instruction or specialized services in order to make effective progress are entitled to Individual Education Plans according to a Federal Law,  the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004. Students who require accommodations in order to gain access to education are entitled to 504 Plans under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 

Some parents are satisfied with the services, modifications, and accommodations that school districts offer. Those students appear to make effective progress, and some parents choose to have the IEPs terminated. Frequently, however, parents find themselves in an adversarial stance with respect to their students’ school districts. Parents are often hurt and surprised to discover that their students’ districts seem reluctant to provide the optimal services, especially if well-regarded outside experts have recommended those services. Parents of children who have special needs are thrust into the dual role of caretaker at home and advocate at school. 

Many parents find that advocating for services in schools and in the community is an overwhelming, stressful process. The laws, regulations, and procedures are confusing. Obtaining accurate information about a child’s progress or about a district’s education or therapeutic options can be very difficult. Sometimes districts deny parents’ requests for information.

My job is to make the process of advocating easier for you. I’ve been there, many times. I excel at obtaining information. I’m persistent and kind. I am knowledgeable about child development, developmental disabilities,  Autism Spectrum Disorder and pediatric mental illness. I’m been admitted to the MA bar, although I’ve chosen to work as an advocate, rather than as an attorney. I’m an experienced family and commercial mediator. I believe that preserving families’ relationships with their school districts is very important.

I will advise you about steps to take in case, despite your best intentions, your relationship with the school district becomes adversarial. 

With the benefit of my skills and experience, you can get through this challenge.

I provide in-person consulting services in the Metropolitan Boston Massachusetts area. I am available by telephone and by Skpe for long-distance consultations and services. 

Call 617-997-6348 or send an email to rachael.wurtman@gmail.com.

Contact me now to make an appointment.