Rhode Island Advocacy for Children is a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in late 2014 by parents of children with special needs. Our organization works directly with families to navigate educational rights and complexities. We provide certified and knowledgeable Education Advocates who will guide a family in understanding this difficult system. We are an experienced and supportive voice who will stand by you to resolve obstacles and foster understanding between you and a school district. Often school districts in Rhode Island have referred clients to our organization to facilitate and assure the family that the district is meeting its obligations. We have accompanied several hundred parents, grandparents, aunts, foster or adoptive parents, and guardians to school meetings and are not afraid to ask educators and administrators the hard questions, review the current supports and services and ensure that all learning needs are addressed in the plan. We recommend evidence-based programs are if the current plan is not working and, most importantly, that all state and federal laws or regulations are followed. The goal is to feel confident and know that your child has an appropriate individualized education plan IEP or 504 that meets his/her unique needs. Are vocal and will stand up for a child's right to an appropriate education!
We know that it takes courage to ask for help. We know how overwhelming or paralyzing it is to navigate an educational system that doesn’t work for your child.
We are you - and have lived through - what you are experiencing now! We are vocal and able to prepare, assist and navigate the special education system or be the organization you call if you have questions.
If you have been told that "everything's fine," "your child will grow out of it," or "your child is not eligible" for special education services -- call us. We are the rock-solid additional support that families require to remove all educational obstacles and discover a child's potential during their school years and in life!
Our Mission is simple: We protect and advocate for the educational rights of disadvantaged youth and children with disabilities.
Our Goal is also simple: To provide families and their children with disabilities - or any other life barriers - guidance with anything that interferes with their right to access a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) throughout their educational journey.
What We Do: We work one-on-one with families whose children may have, or a family member suspects, the child has learning, social-emotional challenges, or physical disabilities. We are experts in disability advocacy and can provide families with resources and support about Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Fragile X Syndrome, Genetic Disorders, Attentional Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Language-based Learning Difficulties such as Non-verbal Learning Disabilities, DYSLEXIA, DYSGRAPHIA, DYSCALCULIA, or Auditory Processing Deficits, Hearing Loss, Vision Impairments, or Mental Health concerns such as Depression, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Suicide attempts or thoughts, Self-harm or Harm to others, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety, and other comorbid conditions. We are not medical professionals but consult with numerous Neurospcyhologists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Neurologists, and other medical professionals and can provide professional guidance on services, supports, and accommodations in a school environment. It is paramount that families understand that their children are entitled to specialized supports and/or services in school and work together with educators, medical and mental health professionals, or other professionals to target and develop those special education services unique to that particular child. Families who suspect, or have children who have been identified with a variety of needs, are entitled to protections by both federal and state law. We are NOT Attorneys but can provide you the names of legal professionals who specialize in education matters. As Education Advocates, we do not want the communication and misunderstandings to rise to the level of needing special education attorneys and often find our presence at the table dissipates a need for legal intervention.
We are experienced, trained, certified Educational Advocates; most of us are parents of children with special needs and will assist families with their questions, provide strategies for approaching and asking their schools for assistance, and accompany them to meetings with the schools if they wish to have an additional, knowledgable voice at the table.
Our Vision for every single child is that:
- Children who face significant barriers due to learning challenges or disabilities, poverty, or barriers to learning are provided equal opportunities for a free and appropriate public education.
- By providing vigorous, knowledgeable educational advocacy services, we help foster and cultivate a lifelong love for learning, especially for children who may previously have known only frustration and failure.
- To ensure that every child is afforded extraordinary opportunities to explore their strengths to lead fulfilling lives and make a successful transition into adulthood.
Advocating for a child’s educational rights is overwhelming, stressful, and filled with questions. Where do I turn for help? What should be addressed at a school meeting? What if I disagree with the school? How do I know what to ask for? How do I make sure that my child is getting what they need?
If you are unsure about your child’s needs, please contact us! We will be able to tell you if we are the right fit for you!