Special education advocates

A special education advocate is a professional who can help you advocate for your child's special education needs and help resolve issues with the school.

Who are they?

  • Some advocates are parents who have gone through the special education system. Some are former special education teachers. Usually they are not lawyers, but they are trained to know when to refer you to a lawyer.

  • There is no official certification for advocates, but a good one will have done some training with an organization like Disability Rights Louisiana, LaPTIC or Families Helping Families. They are trained to help negotiate and to know when to refer you to a lawyer.

A good advocate:

  • Is well-trained and knows the law

  • Understands disabilities

  • Understands your school system

  • Takes time to know your child

  • Empowers you

  • Acts professionally

How to find an advocate:

  • If you want to talk to an advocate, ask your school district contact to put you in touch with one. Or ask Families Helping Families.
  • Search in our Resource Directory. Put in your zip code and go to the Education & Employment section.
  • You can also use databases from COPAA and Wrightslaw to find advocates near you.

We do not endorse any of the providers listed on these databases.

Before you hire an advocate:

  • Make sure they are experienced, know about your child's school district and disability, and that they take the time to get to know your family.

  • Ask about cost. Some advocates work for free or on a sliding scale, others charge a fee.

  • Ask for references from other families they have worked with.

  • Ask for a written agreement outlining their responsibilities and fees.


Tell your IEP team in advance if you plan to bring an advocate to the meeting.


Sources: Families Helping Families, Advocacy LA, FCSN