Meet Claire Hooley, JD (Ret) IEP Advocate
Advocating for students
As a former educator and special education advocate, I look forward to using my skills, experience, and training to help parents obtain educational benefits for their children. Throughout my adult life, I have advocated for those unable to represent themselves. I am eager to work with your family as you navigate through the IEP process to achieve your goals.
I am native to Buffalo, New York, where I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Special Education. Initially, I taught intellectually and developmentally disabled childrenin the Buffalo Public Schools; and later I worked as an autistic program teacher and therapist, family training program coordinator, and parent counselor in grant-funded and private school programs.
I worked with special needs children and their parents for over 10 years before going to law school and starting my second career. I spent 23 years working in the areas of disability and labor law assisting individuals obtain the rights to which they were entitled, gaining experience in mediation, arbitration, and negotiation. After living and working in the Buffalo and Washington, DC areas, I finally relocated to Denver where I worked 5 years in a leadership position for a disability component of the Social Security Administration.
Upon retirement, I considered moving closer to my children and 5 grandchildren living in Minnesota and Georgia. But the beauty of this state, and the opportunities and connections that I’ve made here, have made Colorado home for me. My association with Horizons Family Solutions has provided the opportunity to come full circle by bringing my mediation and negotiation skills to educational advocacy.
Available Services Include:
Knowing the whole child and determining the child’s unique needs and learning style.
- Review of educational and medical records: evaluations, school background, developmental history.
- Classroom and school observations.
- Assessment of abilities.
- Individualized accommodations, modifications goals, and objective to provide explicit participation in developing effective IEPs and 504 plans.
Advocating for your child
- Promoting a positive constructive relationship between school and parents.
- Facilitating educational meetings: including IEP, Section 504 and Inter-Agency Meeting.
- Coordinating communications between school and outside providers.
- Mediating and negotiating with school to obtain appropriate support and services.
- Monitoring the implementation of IEP or 504 plan.
- Providing referrals for diagnostic evaluations & treatment.
- Evaluating outside options in educational placement.
- Helping parents understand that they are the most effective advocate for their child.
- Coaching parents, on how to maintain effective win/win communications with the school.
- Interpreting the implications and applications of federally mandated educational laws including: IDEA, NCLB, 504 & ADA.
- Consultation on legal options, procedures and resources.
CONSULTATION PACKAGE “A”
Designed for clients who seek guidance throughout their child’s school years in preparation for meetings with teachers, staff, and district administration, as each works through these meetings independently.
Due to an established relationship based upon trust, understanding, and long-standing support, “Package A” provides parents the opportunity to work with me and prepare for each meeting beforehand. By doing so, it makes a huge difference going into these meetings with a strategic plan; developed with the expertise of an educator and advocate (someone who has been working on the “inside”).
Specifically, as Section 504, IEP, and Evaluation meetings are scheduled, we work together in developing your “game-plan”, in contrast to going it alone and trusting whatever is presented by the school will be in your child’s best interest. My consultation “Package A” is designed to support you for the long haul.
Since “Package A” is a consultation service package, and you attend the meetings alone, when you feel the need for more direct support at the meetings, we make it easy for you and in many situations, your payment will shift directly to “Package B”. So there’s no reason to worry about “A” or “B”
DIRECT ADVOCACY, “PACKAGE B”
Provides you assurance and confidence knowing you have the expertise of a professional educator – advocate working on your behalf at these complex meetings.
My in-depth knowledge of special education, policies and procedures, and innovative interventions, provides you opportunity to focus on your child, their strengths, as well as the challenges he or she may face at school.
“Package B” specifically supports parents when meeting with the school and their team members. Most parents experience a great sense of relief to have an insightful “insider” on their side of the table during these important meetings.
The opportunity to let another take the reigns within IEP, 504 meeting, and other important conversations, allows you to focus on your child, his or her needs, instead of juggling complex issues including: Curriculum “Best Practices”, Special Education Laws & Policies, hidden agendas, and an assortment of emotions (sometimes your own as well as others across the table!). Imagine feeling both relieved and a sense of accomplishment following these meetings!
For families who are seeking direct-advocacy in person, make sure we talk about the various ways I can make this happen. There’s no excuse for not having an advocate on your side: I am here for you, especially when you are seeking someone by your side.
We understand that everyone does not come to us from the same economic situation. There are times in one’s life when one may experience abundance and prosperity, and there are moments when you face an economic bump in the road; we understand.
* To sustain our business format, our fees are flexible to accommodate a wide-range of families, their financial status, and their advocacy needs. Though our fees are established based upon the extent of the depth of experience, expertise, and insights shared, we also understand that to others, with limited expendable income, it’s almost impossible to imagine. So we create individual plans for every parent.
Most importantly, we are grateful for those parents who are able to work with us through our standard packages for it allows us the opportunity to work with less fortunate families. We deeply appreciate your patronage.
Please fill out the Contact Us form – Attention Claire Hooley in the message.
As a service to all families, throughout the year, we do have reduced fee packages for families in need. We ask for you to inform us when your child is on the “FREE and REDUCED LUNCH PROGRAM“.
When you know the value of a professional advocate, then fill out the Contact form and send it – attention Claire Hooley in the message.
We can then set up an initial 20 minute call to see how we can work together. I only have room for a few new clients each month to ensure that I can do my best work for each and every client.
Once we determine your specific needs and which plan best suits your current situation, I can let you know what the hourly cost and retainer fee would be to get started.