What are important qualities to consider when hiring an advocate?
Families often think it is necessary to go down the complicated and emotional special education path alone. Special education law is difficult to understand and the process can feel impossible to navigate. The internet can often complicate your understanding even more.
Families that make the decision to hire an advocate need to consider the advocate’s:
- Experience and knowledge in the field of special education, including knowledge of the wide variety of disabilities, placement and service options (public and private), assessment tools, etc.
- Experience and relationships with local school districts.
- Ability to utilize collaborative and creative problem-solving in order to maintain a positive and productive relationship with the school district.
- Ability to compassionately attend to your questions and concerns and alleviate your anxiety.
- Ability to professionally represent your child’s best interests to school districts and other professionals.
Our child-centered team of special education experts work collaboratively with all involved professionals to maximize each child’s unique potential.
With more than 24 years of experience, Renée brings a distinctive perspective and knowledge base to secure services for your child. Her expertise stems from her work as a:
- Special Education Advocate
- Director of Special Education
- School Psychologist
- 504 Coordinator
- Literacy Tutor/Consultant
This unique combination of sitting on both sides of the table provides Renée with an exceptionally broad and thorough understanding of a variety of special education areas, including legal issues, (IDEA, state regulations, Section 504, alternative dispute resolution, mediation, and due process hearings) and all levels of service and placement options.
Additionally, the depth and breadth of Renée’s experience with children with a wide range of abilities, disabilities, and ages helps her determine what services your child requires to learn and achieve. Renée’s unique and well-established relationships with Bay Area school districts, effective communication style, and intuitive conflict resolution skills make it easier to obtain those services. Let her combine her unique “inside” perspective and special education expertise to effect positive outcomes for your child.
- The Advocacy Project – Certificate in Advocacy
- University of California, Davis – M.A., Education/Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Psychology
- University of California, Santa Barbara – B.A., Psychology
- University of Colorado at Denver – Early Literacy Certification
Laura is passionate about helping children receive the education and services they need and deserve. She brings over 20 years of educational experience to the practice as a:
- Special Education Advocate
- Special Education Program Supervisor
- Teacher for Moderate-to-Severe Special Day Class
- Independent Home School Teacher/Principal
After beginning her career as an Independent Home School Teacher/Principal, Laura returned to school to support her transition to special education when she found her enthusiasm for helping children with special needs. During her first year as a Teacher in a moderate-to-severe special day class, she won an Excellence In Teaching award from the SELPA for her work advocating for her students and implementing curriculum. Her classroom also served as the model high school classroom for the country based upon the unique moderate-to-severe curriculum she taught. Laura next transitioned into the role of a Special Education Program Supervisor where she worked tirelessly assisting and advocating for her students and their families to establish the supports and services needed for success.
Due to her desire to work closer with her students and their families without the constraints of the public school system, Laura then transitioned into her role as a Special Education Advocate. Having worked on both sides of the table, she has developed strong working relationships with district employees and understands how to brainstorm and collaborate to achieve the best possible outcome for her clients. Laura’s calm demeanor, honesty, and practicality support parents on every step of their journey. Laura’s experience allows her to provide expertise, passion, energy, and most importantly hope to every family she represents.
- Brandman University – M.A., Educational Leadership and Administration
- Brandman University – Administrative Credential
- Brandman University – Teaching Credential in Moderate-to-Severe Special Education
- Trinity University – B.A., History
Elizabeth Corso brings more than 20 years of experience supporting children and their families within various special education capacities:
• Special Education Advocate
• 504 Coordinator
• School Psychologist
• Interim Director of Special Education
• Program Specialist
Her practice ranges from public/private school environments to community organizations to mental health agencies. Over the years, Elizabeth has worked with children of all ages and special needs, but has a special place in her heart for working with children who have dyslexia and significant social, emotional and mental health struggles. She has collaborated on several county wide self-harm and threat-to-others initiatives and assisted in the development of procedural handbooks related to suicide prevention/intervention, threat-to-others, and response protocols. Due to her professional background and passion for the law, Elizabeth has a strong understanding of special education and 504 law, Education Code, and school curriculum.
Elizabeth is a passionate and dedicated leader in advocating for children and their families. She has a special knack for establishing warm and supportive relationships with parents as they journey through the special education maze. Elizabeth cultivates empathy and trust based upon her calm, compassionate, and caring personality. She has a particular strength in her ability to embrace the unique qualities of all learners and fundamentally believes that all students can learn and reach their full potential by having the right resources in place.
National University – M.S., School Psychology and California Administrative Services Credential
California State University, Sacramento – Bachelor of Arts – Geography
San Joaquin County Office of Education – Certificate in IEP Facilitation
El Dorado County Office of Education – Certificate in IEP Alternative Dispute Resolution/Mediation