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Meet the Advocates

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Asking Questions: a good strategy for identifying win-win solutions. Everyday, people just like you, have questions.

On this page, you'll meet the advocates who answer your questions, offer ideas, and make suggestions in articles for parents and teachers who want to learn how to negotiate the maze of special education.

Susan Bruce -  "Parents Leading the Way "

Susan BruceSusan is an education coordinator and parent trainer for the SC Parent Training & Information Center, PRO*Parents.

Susan has trained over 2000 parents and professionals on the IDEA, empowering them to effectively advocate for appropriate services for students with disabilities.

She has been published by Wrightslaw, NICHCY and Education Week. Her articles appear in PTI newsletters all over the country. Susan has also conducted CLE trainings on the IDEA for new attorneys in collaboration with Appleseed Legal Justice Center.

Susan, a mother of 3 children with disabilities, is a dedicated and passionate advocate for her children and others. Susan has trained under some of the leading experts on special education law.

Susan, an active member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), also serves on the Executive Advisory Board of Learning Disabilities Association of South Carolina and as a parent leader for the National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities (NAEAACLD).

 Susan's Answers...

Debbie Larson - "Each One - Teach One"

Debbie LarsonWhen the youngest of Debbie's 3 children had his first language evaluation at age 2, she couldn't understand the eval reports. Once she understood the reports, she didn't agree with them. Debbie knew she needed to learn her son's rights and her rights. Her advocacy started here.

She connected with her state PTIC, took lay advocacy training, and served many families as a volunteer.

Later she became the PTIC Regional Training Coordinator for 15 counties in central/western New York. Debbie served as a direct advocate for parents and as a trainer for parents and professionals.

Debbie is currently doing private practice advocacy for families.

Debbie's Answers...   

Pat Howey - "Changing the World - One Child at at Time"

Indiana Advocate Pat HoweyPat is an advocate who has worked with families since 1986, helping parents resolve special education disputes with their school districts.

Pat has a degree in paralegal studies.

She is an active member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) received the Learning Disabilities Association of Indiana (LDA-IN) Outstanding Service Award for her commitment and compassion towards students with disabilities.

Pat is a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau. She presents From Emotions to Advocacy programs. In these programs, parents learn how to assess their children's strengths and weaknesses, build healthy working relationships with school personnel, about the "gentle art of disagreeing," and how to participate as equal members of the IEP team.

Pat also writes articles for Wrightslaw in Ask the Advocate.

Pat's Answers...

Sue Whitney - "Do Your Homework"

Sue WhitneySue Whitney of Merrimack, New Hampshire, is the research editor for Wrightslaw.

Sue is the co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (ISBN: 1-978-892320-12-4) that is published by Harbor House Law Press.

In Doing Your Homework, she writes about reading, research based instruction, No Child Left Behind, and creative strategies for using federal education standards to advocate for children and to improve public schools. Her articles have been reprinted by SchwabLearning.org, EducationNews.org, Bridges4Kids.org, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys. More about Sue Whitney.

Sue has served on New Hampshire's Special Education State Advisory Committee on the Education of Students/Children with Disabilities (SAC) and has been a volunteer educational surrogate parent.

She currently works with families as a special education advocate.

Sue's Answers...

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Revised: 12/14/11
Created: 04/27/11

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