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The Educational Advocacy Program is a Program of the WILC and its satellite office, Putnam Independent Living Services (PILS). Its purpose is to reach out to families of children (ages birth - 21) with special needs to aid in the advancement of their development and security of their future.
It assists parents of children with special needs to make informed decisions about educational rights, choices, responsibilities, and long-term outcomes; provides on-going support navigating the Special Education system; and identifies and links parents with appropriate community resources.
WILC's/PILS' Educational Advocacy Program staff provide direct and indirect advocacy services in order to support and empower parents in their quest to receive appropriate Special Education services for their child. Educational Advocacy Program staff have an extensive knowledge of NYS Special Education Regulations (Part 200 and 201), IDEAS, Section 504, and various disabilities. Staff includes a Director of Educational Advocacy Services, Transition Specialists, and Educational Advocates (EI, CPSE, and CSE). These qualified Educational Advocates have a wealth of knowledge and experience with the Special Education system. They are parents of children with special needs and/or have an expertise in mental health, physical, and developmental disabilities.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Q: How do I refer my child for special education services?A: If you suspect that your child has a disability, you should prepare a letter addressed to the special education department of your school district indicating you are concerned about your child's performance in school, suspect a disability and are requesting a full and complete psycho-educational evaluation be administered. If your child is demonstrating weakness in speech, fine or gross motor or other areas, you should request additional evaluations to address these concerns. The school district is required to evaluate, hold a CSE (Committee on Special Education) meeting and implement an appropriate Individualized Education Program (IEP), within 60 days from the time you sign the consent to evaluate form.
- Q: What is the CSE?A: The CSE is the Committee on Special Education which is comprised of the parents, regular education teacher, special education teacher, school psychologist, representative of the school district who is capable of making decisions regarding the recommendations, the school physician if necessary, parent member if parent requests, other persons invited by the parent or the school district who have specific knowledge or expertise regarding the child, and the student, if appropriate. This is the team that determines, based on the evaluations and observations, if your child meets criteria to be classified as a student with a disability.
- Q: How is classification determined?A: Your child may be classified if he/she has been identified as having a disability and requires special education services. The disability must fall into one of the 13 categories which include: Autism, Deafness, Deaf-Blindness, Emotional Disturbance, Hearing Impairment, Learning Disability, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Speech or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury and Visual Impairment. The disability also must have a negative impact on his/her ability to access his/her education.
- Q: What is an IEPA: The IEP is your child's Individualized Education Program. This is a written statement developed which includes the strengths, weaknesses and needs of the student in the areas of academics, social/emotional, physical and management needs. The IEP will document all services, programs and measurable annual goals to determine progress.
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Parent of a
Child with a disability
EDUCATIONAL ADVOCACY PROGRAM
SERVICES INFORMATION AND REFERRAL
DIRECT AND INDIRECT ADVOCACY
The Educational Advocacy Program works with individuals, community organizations and state/national networks to:
The Educational Advocacy Program provides workshops for parents and professionals on a variety of topics relating to education, i.e., Special Education law, transition, learning disabilities, etc.
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