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1.Special Education Advocate vs. Attorney- Which do I need?

1.Special Education Advocate vs. Attorney- Which do I need?

This is the most frequently asked question within the special education community. When it comes to choosing the person that is right for your child and your family, here are some important factors to consider:



The biggest difference between a special education advocate and a special education attorney are:

A Special Education Advocate is a person that accompanies and advises you throughout the special education process.



A Special Education Attorney is someone who mediates and represents your family legally when there is a dispute with the school.



The most important factor to pay attention to is the key word “legal” a special education advocate cannot represent your family regarding any legal matter.

The benefit when choosing to work with an advocate is that most of them have spent years in the special education field, like us. We are former educators, therapists, and endure the same exact disabilities!

→ For more information check out this detailed chart showing the specific differences between the two.

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/your-childs-rights/dispute-resolution/the-difference-between-special-education-advocates-and-attorneys

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2. What specific services can a Special Education Advocate vs. Attorney provide?

2. What specific services can a Special Education Advocate vs. Attorney provide?

An advocate can:

Review your child’s IEP or 504 plans

Attend IEP and 504 meetings with you to facilitate solutions

Negotiate with the school for you

Advise you on the appropriate services and support for your child

Inform you on your and your child’s rights regarding special education

Recommend specialists, service providers and other institutions/professionals that might be of help

Help you write letters to the school

An attorney can:

Review your child’s IEP or 504 from a legal viewpoint

Attend IEP or 504 meetings with you

Negotiate with the school for you

Advise you on your and your child’s rights with respect to special education

Write letters to the school for you

Represent you in a mediation, due process, and impartial hearing

Represent you in court

Prepare legal documents, including complaints

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3. When interviewing for a Special Education Advocate to represent my family, what are some questions I should be asking?

3. When interviewing for a Special Education Advocate to represent my family, what are some questions I should be asking?

There are no specific qualifications, training, or requirements for a special education advocate to call themselves an advocate. Therefore, it is crucial to ask the right questions and do your research before hiring anyone! On the other hand, when hiring an attorney in the state of California you know that they went through a licensing process to practice law, also there are very few lawyers who practice special education law.

Here are some good questions you can use to guide you when looking for a special education advocate:

How long have you been practicing in this field?

Have you worked on similar cases?

Do you have any personal experience?

What would you propose as a course of action in our case?

How will I be included in the process?

How will you keep me in the know about the developments?

What are your fees and services included in those fees?

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