The laws that govern special education, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), permit parents to bring advocates to certain meetings, including IEPT meetings. By and large, advocates are helpful to the process of creating a solid IEPT Report by informing parents of the limits of the district's responsibilities and making suggestions to help parents and districts overcome disagreements. Unfortunately, there is a small minority of advocates who actually interfere with the trust and cooperation necessary for parents and districts to work together to provide disabled students with FAPE.
One clear warning sign is an advocate who sows mistrust between the parents and the district. Some advocates who take this approach then prey on the mistrust they generate by charging parents fees the "services" they provide. There is little a district can do to address this problem, except to politely point out the obvious. READ MORE.