Educational Advocacy

Now that your child has been considered for special education services or has been diagnosed with a learning disability, you may have questions about what legal rights and protections are afforded to your child in an educational setting. Understanding all the laws and regulations can be overwhelming, however, there is assistance available.


FirstPLAN Health Services can provide you with assistance through a trained advocate in the area of disability law. Our Educational Advocates are not lawyers but licensed clinical social workers with a certification in school social work.

The Educational Advocate’s role is to represent the student and parents in any meetings with school administrators. In these meetings, it is important for the Educational Advocate to identify the problems the child is having at school and home, assist in the determination of accommodations for the child and ensure implementation by the educational institution.

For an Educational Advocate to be effective, they need to know the laws that affect children in an educational setting and have a thorough knowledge of disability law, the types of services available to the child, and how to work as a team member. Having a good working relationship with all parties involved ensures that the child will receive the most beneficial services available depending on his or her circumstances.

There are two laws that govern children who have been identified with disabilities: Section 504 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities if the educational institution receives federal funding. It ensures that children identified with a disability have equal access to an education. Children under Section 504 can receive accommodations and modifications. Examples of accommodations can include sitting a child at the front of the class or reducing the number of problems a child has to complete.


IDEA is a voluntary Federal Special Education Act in which states elect to participate to receive federal funds. This law prohibits the discrimination against children with special needs who are trying to receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education. IDEA provides an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and is similar to a medical treatment plan.

Having an Educational Advocate to assist in determining your child’s rights can be very valuable; not only from a legal perspective, but also by reducing the stress or intimidation parents may feel by meeting with school administrators. Allow FirstPLAN Health Services to assist you in the process of ensuring the best possible education for your child. All children deserve the right to learn with an equal opportunity in the educational setting.

If the information you’ve just read has been helpful, take the next step and call us today for a no-cost consultation—this could prove to be the best educational decision you’ve ever made for your child.

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