Our philosophy is:
- To persuade using facts and evidence
- To be non-confrontational, when possible
- To be cost-effective
Facts and Evidence
School districts must, of course, comply with the federal and state laws that govern special education. These laws, which span thousands of pages, are in place to ensure that children receive
“A free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.“
The vast majority of districts and district staff very much want to comply with the rules – in fact, most staff are in their profession precisely because they want to help children. But often they either don’t know all of the rules themselves, or they don’t understand a child’s needs well enough to offer a program that’s appropriate.
The key to creating change is to demonstrate, using facts and evidence, that change is needed to comply with regulations. AEP’s job is to ensure that a district knows the law, knows the child’s needs, and creates and follows a plan to match the two.
We believe in being direct but non-confrontational. We strongly believe that school districts want to do the right thing, and that the best and most rapid progress comes through collaboration, not battles. We work to make sure that we, and the student’s family, maintain a good relationship.
If we feel that a district is not meeting its obligations, the discussion can move from the district level to the state – our Commonwealth has mechanisms, such as mediation and a hearing process, to ensure that students’ rights are protected.
Raising a child with special needs is a very difficult, stressful, and expensive undertaking. Frankly, it’s unfair that successfully navigating the special ed process sometimes requires significant time and expertise, but that’s the world we live in. At AEP, we look to help as we can while minimizing stress and financial burden. At the start of each engagement, we’ll review the steps needed to move forward and determine where parents want us to fit in the process. In some cases, parents find it best to engage AEP to “quarterback” the effort. In other cases, occasional meetings and phone calls are what will work best. No matter how we’re involved, we’ll work with you to put the pieces in place for success.