I've been dealing with the school district, and felt largely ignored. Since that time, and a few meetings accompanied by Dave, I feel like my concerns are being addressed, somewhat, albeit slowly, where the school is concerned. Dave is professional but a compassionate advocate, that seeks to address the realities of the world, inside and outside the school, for a child with different needs. He utilizes his knowledge about the whole child, and coordinates, with the parent, a plan of action.
SASSNA was very helpful with my daughters IEP as well as hosting social meetings and projects for all different levels of abilities. Dave, is also very knowledgeable in many areas to help the special needs community.
When I contacted SASSNA, I had already formed an ill opinion towards the organization. Quite frankly, I was already fed up, irritated and my head was spinning! For the past week, I had been making calls, on hold, sending emails of inquiry and writting letters attempting to obtain answers & assistance for my little boy...I was CLUELESS!
What happened next, I was NOT expecting. Mr. Gaines personally answered my phone call and dove right in collecting info! Once we started chatting about my concerns/issues with the school district, we scheduled to meet a couple of times prior to the IEP Meeting. Mr. Gaines is educated and thoroughly knowledgeable in the legal aspects and has an extensive background working professionally with special needs students.
Here are a few items that SASSNA assisted us with:
▪ My son's school records, special education records,
assessments, and evaluations were thoroughly reviewed.
▪ Inform us of our child's educational rights.
▪ Provide us with expert guidance and direction through the IEP
▪ Reviewed IEP goals to formulate appropriate goals,
accommodations, modifications, behavior plans, & related
services such as SLT & OT.
▪ Prepared for the IEP meeting by reviewing documents,
solidifying our meeting objectives, and answering questions
▪ Reviewed all IEP docs before signing - TWICE.
Ultimately, despite Dave's expertise to give educational options and advice, he respected that the final decision about my child's education belongs to me. (I am truly grateful and indebted to him)
Without a doubt, I would recommened anyone who's facing a battle, has any issues with obtaining services, or simply has a question...to contact SASSNA - you are not alone!