Frequently Asked Questions
What is an education advocate?
The role of an advocate is to assist parents in obtaining the educational services and programs their children require to make effective progress in school. Most advocates also consider their role to include fostering a positive and collaborative relationship with schools and school districts to the maximum extent possible, while still holding schools accountable to the Federal and State laws that are in place to protect your child. Advocates work hard to maintain a professional, respectful, and collaborative meeting atmosphere that encourages the entire team to stay focused on your child’s educational needs. A skilled advocate will be able to answer your questions and simplify the education maze toward a better, more appropriate education for your child.
What can an advocate do for us?
An Educational Advocate can help you navigate your way through the bureaucracy of the school system. An advocate has a good working knowledge of how a particular school district operates and understands and stays abreast of the ever-changing laws pertaining to your child's education. The advocate becomes part of your team as you pursue an appropriate education for your child. Parents often find that they are able to communicate more clearly and negotiate more effectively with an advocate by their side.
What are the benefits of working with an advocate who specializes in our child’s disability?
While children with Autism share common characteristics-each child is unique with their own strengths and challenges. It is with this understanding that we help our families plan for educational programming that reflects their child’s unique needs and is designed to ensure their child is receiving an appropriate education. School districts must provide special education programs and services that meet all of your child’s educational needs; including academic, social, communication, sensory, behavioral, vocational, daily living skills, and organizational.
School districts must consider the full range of special education services necessary to meet your child’s unique needs resulting from ASD including, if appropriate, intensive services such as ABA, floor time, pragmatics, sensory integration, literacy instruction, etc.
It is imperative that a professional advocating for these unique children have a strong understanding of the various therapies, instructions, treatments, and programs available - as well as a strong network of proven professionals including physicians, evaluators, behavioral analysts, therapy providers, and educational consultants, most of whom also focus on working with children on the autism spectrum. Our understanding and experience with Autism both personally as well as professionally will provide you with the most specialized help available.
When do I call an advocate?
We can help at any time, but often we receive inquiries at the following times:
You suspect that your child may have a disability
You have received a diagnosis or an evaluation
You have received a finding of no eligibility for your child and you don’t agree
Your school district has requested mediation
Your child is not making effective progress in his/her current program
You feel your child needs specific supports and services and the school district disagrees
You are confused about you and your child’s rights and the IEP/504 process
You do not feel like an equal member of the Team
You are not receiving adequate communication from your child’s school
You are questioning the validity of what the school district is doing
You have concerns regarding your child’s IEP
You suspect that the school district is not providing the services in your child's IEP
There has been an incident you or your child have perceived as bullying or abuse
You think your child may need a private, therapeutic, day or residential program
Can you review my child’s records and IEP to help determine if he/she is receiving the right amount of support and services?
Yes, we offer IEP consultations; you can learn more about this service (here).
What types of services can my child receive under Special education?
Depending on your child’s unique and individual needs, some IEPs for children with autism may include:
- ABA - Applied Behavioral Analysis
- Home Programs
- Behavioral Supports
- Social Skills Instruction and Supports
- Executive functioning support
- Extended Year Services (ESY- Summer services)
Extended Day services
- Sensory Integration Therapy
- Assistive Technology
- Augmentative Communication
- Speech & Language Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Vocational Supports
- Life Skills Training
- Individual or Classroom Paraprofessional support
- Transition Services
- Parent Training
- other services to meet your child’s unique needs
Has your child’s Team considered all areas of need?
Does your group work with families from other states?
We frequently assist families moving into Massachusetts from other states, however, we are unable to work with families who reside outside of Massachusetts.
I have an adult son who is 25 yrs old, can an advocate help us secure adult services for him?
At ASA we support school-age students who are between the ages of 3 – 22. For information on adult services we recommend you contact your local Autism Resource center.
Do you take insurance?
Advocates do not provide medical services, therefore we are unable to bill through health insurance. The families who hire us typically pay us privately; some families are able to use their flex funding accounts for our services.
*for information on our fees and billing, please contact us.