Special Education Advocacy is vital to improving and sustaining the quality of education and improving post -secondary outcomes.
A study of advocacy techniques facilitates the development of professional advocacy expertise. The degree of expertise is recognized through the Board Certified Education Advocate™ (BCEA™) designation.
Special Education Advocates are on the front lines of observing and promoting compliance with state and federal mandated regulations.
Their role in monitoring and reporting violations is essential to:
➢ strengthen and modernize state and federal monitoring, oversight and enforcement roles
➢ ensure access and availability to appropriate and effective educational services and programs
➢ provide families and individuals with developmental disabilities a voice in the system.
Individuals with developmental disabilities and their families need Special Education Advocates that:
➢ know, understand and assert their rights,
➢ promote self-determination
➢ know how to obtain needed educational and inter-agency services.
➢ can identify and prevail over barriers of discrimination in our communities
➢ can protect them from system abuses and neglect.
Individuals with developmental disabilities – often represented by their parents - should have access to the FAPE mandated by state and federal laws. This includes a process that:
➢ meets state and federal educational standards and is adequately funded and staffed
➢ is free from conflicts of interest,
➢ provides access to quality educational and legal advocacy without a formal complaint
➢ efficiently coordinates community resources to resolve conflicts by using multiple
advocacy strategies, including: information discrimination, referrals, IEP meetings,
informal meetings,mediation, legal action, and legislative / regulatory solutions.
We must acknowledge and respect the success and value of professional Special Education Advocacy at the individual, system, policy and societal level.
➢ Board certification** promotes a standard for recognizing qualifications and validating a broad-based minimum knowledge requirement as the foundation for effective service in the field of special education advocacy. These standards aim to enhance service provision to people with developmental disabilities* who are seeking access to a free and appropriate education. The board certification program promotes voluntary minimum standards of quality independent professional practice in the field of Special Education Advocacy and is a source of pride for the Board Certified Education Advocate (BCEA™).
➢ The Education Advocate needs professional training to facilitate legally sufficient and educationally effective outcomes for individuals with learning disabilities. Qualitative and quantitative results show short term cost reduction by minimizing the use of costly due process hearings and inappropriate or ineffective educational interventions. Long term cost savings are realized through the improved quality of life, independence and self-sufficiency of children with developmental disabilities.
* For purposes of this document Developmental Disabilities includes any cognitive, physical, social - emotional, or behavior deficits, genetic or acquired, that impact the individual’s ability to access FAPE, a Free Appropriate Public Education.
** Board Certification of any service provider, in any field, is the process by which a non-governmental agency or association validates an individual’s knowledge in a defined functional area. Candidates for certification must meet specific requirements of eligibility and pass examinations.