The biggest difference is that anyone can say they are an “advocate.” There is no required license or certification to be a Special Education Advocate. An attorney, on the other hand, is a legal professional who is licensed to practice law in your state.
Oftentimes, advocates might be former teachers or educational specialists, so they might have expertise on the way your local school system operates. But their background and their experience can vary widely.
Special education advocates charge fees, but they are generally less expensive than attorneys (who might charge you $100 or more per hour).
Special education advocates can:
Negotiate with the school on your behalf
Review your child’s IEP or 504 plan
Attend IEP or 504 plan meetings
Explain more about your child’s rights
Help you strategize how to work with the school
Recommend specialists, service providers, evaluators, and schools
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting is a gathering of the IEP team to create or update the IEP and discuss the child's progress. Parents can request an IEP meeting at any time.
For a comprehensive guide to IEP meetings, check out the article in our Learning Center.
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