Emiliano’s parents, Juan and Angelica, retained me when Emiliano was only 7 years old because the district wanted to place him in a severely handicapped class. Juan and Angelica wanted Emiliano to be in general education to be educated alongside his typical developing peers. They wanted Emiliano to have an ABA aide from a private agency to support him to be successful in a full inclusion program.
After we applied my 5 Step Program, we were successful in having the school district award Emiliano an IEP that included full inclusion, a non-public agency ABA aide, non-public agency speech and language services and academic support after school, costing the district more than $70,000 each year. 10 years later, Emiliano will graduate with his diploma and attend college to become a video game designer.
~ Juan & Angelica, Parents of Emiliano
Wow… I wish I had this information when my son transitioned to high school. The school district did not inform me of what was available for high school students on an IEP and as a result, my son hated school and he struggled year after year until he graduated.
My son has a very high IQ and he should have achieved much higher grades. If I had known this information, he would have received the accommodations he needed to support him to access the curriculum and we could have focused more on building his strengths. Every parent should take advantage of this amazing opportunity to learn their parent rights and secure the education their child deserves!~ Jeanne Beard
Jeanne Beard is a thought leader in the autism arena. The founder of the National Autism Academy, a speaker, coach, consultant, and author of Autism & The Rest of Us: How to Sustain a Healthy, Functional and Satisfying Life with a Person on the Autism Spectrum. Jeanne is a graduate of Northwestern University, and had a successful 30-year career in business to business sales. The mother of 2 sons, one diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and one diagnosed with ADHD, Jeanne is certified as a life coach and dedicates her time to helping families find success, peace and inspiration in life with autism.
I would like to reach out to parents everywhere in regard to Valerie Aprahamian, Advocates for Angels, and the amazing services she provides to assure children receive the programs they deserve as well as empowering parents with the knowledge and skills necessary to stand up for their child’s rights.
Let me first say that I am not an uneducated woman. I have 2 doctoral degrees, I am a physical therapist and a university educator so regardless of who you are, don’t be embarrassed if you were, like me, clueless about the intricacies, nuances, and skills required to understand and navigate the IEP process in the public school system.
Valerie guided us through the IEP process, which was a lengthy and complex experience and now my son is an honor student in high school and has most definitely remained on diploma track despite the fact the district wanted him to receive a “credential of completion” which would cause him to forfeit his diploma and fail to receive a high school education.
Valerie advocated for the district to award my son many services from private agencies that I never knew were available but now I am aware of my child’s rights and special education law. She changed our lives – she changed my son’s life forever. I am so grateful for her.~ Chris, Mom of Dylan
It was during the very first meeting at the district office for preschool placement when I realized that this was not going to be a smooth ride. Even without prior knowledge of how special education works, I knew I wanted goals to be set high for my daughter, but instead, the District staff insisted we start with an Autism Program placement and “wait and see” how she would progress from there.
I attended several IEP meetings and became very aware of the fact that I was not going to get my child the services or placement she needed by myself.
After hiring Valerie, she immediately was able to have the district provide Melissa with an aide and she began transitioning out of the Autism Program classroom. The IEP went from no services with 3 goals to 16 goals with services for behavior, occupational therapy and speech and language from a private agency! This year, Melissa met all her goals for first grade in the high functioning special education class and was on HONOR ROLL!
There is no way I could have accomplished this alone. When my rights were violated, Valerie knew how to hold the district accountable. I am grateful that I sought out Advocate For Angels when Melissa was still young because we have been able to lay a very solid foundation for her to continue to receive the education she needs.~ Liz, Mom of Melissa
God sent an ally…
It was March of 2008 when my husband and I first met Ms. Valerie Aprahamian. She was businesslike, intelligent and very professional but underneath this demeanor laid a crusader, an advocate of the rights of the voiceless and under privileged special needs children. Above all, simply a fellow mother who is experiencing her life’s journey, same as mine, same as yours.
My son Matthew was 3 1/2 years old when he was first diagnosed with mild autism. My husband and I were like zombies, numb struck of the unknown, uncertain of what lies ahead.
Valerie was truly a godsend to our son Matthew. Valerie interceded on Matthew’s behalf, fiercely battled with quiet determination and resolved to fight for his rights with resilient persistence as we faced continued obstacles and challenges along the way.
Since then, my son’s life has taken so many twists and turns of unbelievable and remarkable improvement. The little boy who once had a severe speech delay and who displayed many autistic-like behaviors, is now a vibrant senior in high school who has learned how to have appropriate social skills, grade level academic achievement and adequate speech ability.
This year, Matthew will graduate with his high school diploma. Because of Valerie, Matthew was able to be fully included in general education classes. We could have not done it without Ms. Valerie. We still have a long journey to tackle for life after high school but now it is easier navigating around the many obstacles because we know our rights after working with Valerie for so many years.
Thank you Ms. Valerie for the love, guidance, and help you have given us. We now have a hopeful future for our son.~ Chris, Mom of Matthew
Our family has been blessed to have worked with Valerie for over 13 years. Since hiring Valerie when my son was only 4 years old, she has remained with us and has always been a wealth of support and knowledge… She knows the Federal and State Education Laws and is a master in conducting productive IEP meetings. Valerie interprets the complex IEP information and she explains the options in terms parents can understand.
The district wanted to place my son in a “Functional” class in high school, which would have caused him to forfeit his high school diploma. But because Valerie was our advocate, my son was able to take the required classes he needed to graduate with a high school diploma, providing him with the same opportunities as any other student. Facilitator, teacher, encourager, listener, and friend, Valerie truly cares about your child and has dedicated her career to fighting for the rights of students on IEPs.~ Karen, Mom of Mike
My son’s learning disability was keeping him from learning. He is now in High School and we needed to get him help as quickly as possible. I was unable to navigate through the rules of the IEP meeting and did not receive any help from the school or the district even though I tried. Calling Valerie has been the best thing I could have ever done for our son. He is now progressing, and we are receiving the services we need for our son. Thank you Valerie!!!~ Jessika, LEUSD
My son has a learning disability and has been on an IEP since the 2nd grade but he never really got the help he needed. When he started junior high he was so frustrated that he came home crying everyday. I hired Valerie to help my twice exceptional child get all the accommodations, supports and services he needed. Valerie has the experience and knowledge to work with the district and set up the best education plan for your child.~ Julie, CNUSD
When my son, Troy, and I walked into Valerie’s office for the first time, we were both very nervous. By the time we left, we both were overwhelmed with a sense of relief. Years of anger, frustration, and tears over Troy’s educational experience had been replaced with a sense of hope. Even though I am a teacher myself, I continued to struggle for years to get the school system to help my son and had been largely unsuccessful. With Valerie’s support…(read more)~ Lisa, RUSD
Simply put, my entire world changed for the better after I hired Valerie. She applied her wealth of knowledge, persistence, compassion, and connections to obtain for my child what I honestly consider to be the special education service ‘lotto.’ I was lost and confused trying to navigate the process on my own. I had nothing. My life was a mess. My child was teetering on the margin of being able to participate in education. With Valerie’s advocacy…(read more)~ Tara, Inland Empire
Justin was judged and treated poorly at school and denied special education services as early as four years old. I fought the best way I knew how but was never successful with getting the school district to understand Justin’s needs. The school site administrators at the SST meetings would make me feel like it was my fault he had problems… (read more)~ Leah, Inland Empire
God sent an ally… It was March of 2008 when my husband and I first met Ms. Valerie Aprahamian. The woman’s exterior facade was businesslike, intelligent and very professional but underneath this demeanor laid a crusader, an advocate of the rights of the unheard and under privileged special needs children. Above all, simply a fellow mother who is experiencing her… (read more)~ The Benitez Family, CNUSD