Did you know that special education ignores the necessity for parents and educators to trust one another simply by the way the laws are written? It’s a simple fact, congress created the special education system to be adversarial.
Did you know that most teachers go into special education to work with kids with special needs and make a difference in their lives but end up leaving the field because of the bureaucratic burdens of managing the adversarial way the system is set up to work with parents and overwhelming paperwork and caseload?
Due to the lack of state and district oversight to ensure compliance, parents are responsible to enforce the fidelity and implementation of the IEP and protect the educational rights of their child.
Did you know that a FAPE (Free and Appropriate Education) endows our children to receive specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of our child?
In the 2017-2018 school year, 7 million students in the US were found eligible for an IEP, which is 14% of all public school students nation wide. This puts parents in the position of having to fight for services to get a piece of the pie. There just isn’t enough funding to serve every student on an IEP to the maximum extent appropriate, even though IDEA mandates it.
As a result, the majority of students on IEPs end up living at home with their parents after they leave high school without the skills to gain competitive employment or live an independent life.
I’m Valerie Aprahamian, The IEP Navigation Expert
It was 1994 when my daughter Chanel was diagnosed with autism and seizure disorder when she was only 3 years old. The UCLA team of pediatric neurologists told me she would never talk, never read, never write, and never be successful in school. On that day, I vowed to prove them wrong and I began my journey of special education advocacy.
I immediately knew that I didn’t want Chanel to be placed in a segregated severely handicapped class and I learned how to successfully advocate for Chanel to be placed in an inclusive educational program.
Chanel was the first student with the diagnosis of autism to be fully included in a general education class in my local school district. This was quite an accomplishment when you consider the fact that this was the mid-90s and school districts had not yet figured out how to include students on the spectrum in the general education classroom!
Soon after, it became my passion, purpose and blessing to advocate for other parents and teach them how to protect the educational rights of their child. Fourteen years later, I was successful in proving the team of pediatric neurologists wrong when Chanel graduated high school with honors!
After high school, Chanel became a California credentialed dog groomer and worked for 2 years at the Doggie Spa in our hometown. Today, Chanel works at the San Diego Humane Society, "saving all the dogs in the world," (Chanel's lifelong dream.)
For the past 22 years I’ve dedicated my life to empowering parents to advocate for their child by attending close to 4,000 IEP meetings to ensure an education that will prepare them for an independent, purposeful, and productive life after high school.
If I can do it, so can any parent!
Our kids deserve a chance to reach their potential in life just like any other child. Don’t let the broken education system or medical professionals steal your dreams for your child’s future. They deserve an education that allows them to thrive!
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives neurodiverse children the right to have an equal opportunity to full participation in school and provide an education that prepares them for independent living and economic self-sufficiency after high school.
Our children should not have to be placed in a special education classroom to receive the special education supports and services listed in the IEP. This is LRE (Least Restrictive Environment).
IDEA mandates neurodiverse children be granted high expectations to ensure access to the general education curriculum in the regular classroom, to the maximum extent possible.
However, school districts across the nation continue to violate IDEA by holding low expectations and an insufficient focus on applying replicable research in proven methods of teaching for students on IEPs.
It is not uncommon for school districts to deny an IEP because student’s needs are diminished by inaccurate and incomplete educational assessment.
Many students are denied behavior and social skills intervention because they are able to know the right answer in an assessment context but are not able to apply their knowledge in a real-life situation and as a result, they are not found eligible for services.
“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~ Founder of National Autism Academy
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.
Every Parent Can Do it!
Parents, unless you learn how to protect the rights of your child, your child’s entire future is at risk!
If you are a parent of a child in special education, district staff members “size you up” at the very first meeting you attend and they will treat you according to the knowledge you have regarding your parent rights.
If you aren’t clear on your child’s disability and areas of deficit and you aren’t fully informed about what is available for your child through your local school district, then your child is at risk of not graduating high school and will most likely leave high school without the skills they need to land a job or attend college or lead an independent life.
The fact that you are still reading tells me that you are a parent who is concerned about your child’s IEP.
Maybe you have a bad feeling that your child isn’t getting what they need or maybe you have seen your child regress in what they once knew.
Or you may be a parent who has already had many IEPs and you’ve been arguing with your IEP team about changing your child’s program and haven’t been successful in coming to a resolution.
Wherever you are in your journey with your child’s IEP, there’s a very good chance that you are experiencing similar problems with your child’s IEP as I experienced with Chanel so many years ago.
So what I’ve done is I’ve taken my 22 years of experience by representing students in close to 4,000 IEP meetings, and crafted a 5 step program to teach parents how to advocate for their own child!
The Ultimate IEP virtual academy will teach you how to secure the best special education program that will prepare your child for an independent future after high school.
It has been my passion, purpose, and blessing to advocate for parents and teach them how to protect the educational rights of their child. I want you to experience the same amazing outcome for your child as I achieved for Chanel and hundreds of other clients I have served over the years.
Limited Time $1998
Limited Time $1998
This module welcomes you to the course and tells you how to make the best use of your time as a participant in the program by giving you pre-work so you can get started right away!
The Orientation acknowledges you for investing in yourself by saying yes to the Ultimate IEP course experience. By taking inspired action to stand up against a broken educational system, you've given yourself a powerful gift that will return to you and your child one hundred fold. But most importantly, your child will reap the rewards of the amazing IEP that will be awarded to you by your local school district because of your advocacy skills.
When parents wake up to the broken educational system they are faced with not knowing how to navigate the bureaucracy of the school district. This insider information is the foundation for any parent to become a successful and professional advocate for their child. The intense emotions of betrayal and injustice can become our Achilles heel, which derails us during IEP meetings. The school district plays on this weakness and uses it to intimidate us or set us up to play the guilt card. In Module 1, you will be given tools to develop self-awareness to keep your emotions in check so you can be a savvy and victorious advocate for your beautiful child.
I will teach you how to drive your child’s IEP meetings and take ownership of the development of your child’s special education program. Once you understand the parent’s role as an equal IEP team participant as endowed to you under IDEA, you will be able to step into your power to lead your team. By making your child the focus of every meeting, you will begin to see the “us against them” mentality fall away and soon your team will unite in celebrating when your child makes progress and starts to succeed.
Once you begin to apply special education law to your own child’s IEP, this is when things really start to change in having the district begin to approve services and work with you instead of against you at your meetings. Once parents prove themselves in being knowledgeable about state and federal law, the trajectory of your child’s program development will drastically improve. With the knowledge of your rights under IDEA, you will witness yourself showing up more powerfully and your confidence will continue to grow as a parent advocate for your child.
The assessment process is the key to gathering the evidence you need to be successful in having the district award the services you want for your child. You will learn the requirements for an accurate and complete assessment and be able to confidently take part in IEP team discussions. Without an assessment that substantiates the supports, services and placement you are asking for, you will never gain the program you are seeking for your child. Once you understand the components of the IEP process, you will have unlocked the key to winning the IEP game.
Learning how to negotiate and utilize the power of parental rights is paramount in fulfilling the last step for the district to award you the program you want for your child. This is where parents get tripped up and that’s when they usually give up because they just don’t have the skills necessary to appeal to the district’s denial at this stage in the game. You see, there is a way to negotiate a resolution without hiring an advocate or attorney if you have developed respectful professional relationships with district administrators.
In this 8-week group program, you’ll receive access to my state of the art online learning platform and modules, where I walk you through my step-by-step process designed to teach you the knowledge and skills necessary to become a powerful parent advocate.
In each module, you will access the videos, audios, handouts, and action guides to support you with everything you need to be successful to create the Ultimate IEP for your child.
Parents… Don’t let your Local School District steal your dreams for your child!
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.
Don’t let the school district fail to educate your child—you can learn the skills to implement your parent rights and secure your child’s future after high school!
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
This course is designed to help you create a special education program to meet the needs of your child—but it goes much deeper than that!
It will give your child the opportunity to reach their potential in life with the best chance to leave high school with the skills they need to live an independent, productive, and purposeful life after high school.
You will save thousands of dollars by never having to hire an advocate because you will be the advocate for your own child.
You will have the skills necessary to advocate for your child throughout their school years until they leave high school or complete the adult program.
Through my step-by-step course, I hold your hand through each module to teach you special education law in layman’s terms. You will have all the support, encouragement, and motivation you need to complete the course and reach your goals to develop the Ultimate IEP you have always wanted for your child!
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