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Educational Advocacy Program

The Educational Advocacy Program is a Program of the Westchester Independent Living Center (WILC) and its satellite office, Putnam Independent Living Services (PILS). It's purpose is to reach out to families of children (ages birth - 21) with special needs to aid in the advancement of their development and security of their future. It assists parents of children with special needs to Empower Parents to Effectively   Advocate for Their Childmake informed decisions about educational rights, choices, responsibilities, and long-term outcomes; provides on-going support navigating the Special Education system; and identifies and links parents with appropriate community resources.

WILC's/PILS' Educational Advocacy Program staff provide direct and indirect advocacy services in order to support and empower parents in their quest to receive appropriate Special Education services for their child. Educational Advocacy Program staff have an extensive knowledge of NYS Special Education Regulations (Part 200 and 201), IDEA, Section 504, and various disabilities. Staff includes a Director of Educational Advocacy Services, Transition Specialists, and Educational Advocates (EI, CPSE, and CSE). These qualified Educational Advocates have a wealth of knowledge and experience with the Special Education system. They are parents of children with special needs and/or have an expertise in mental health, physical, and developmental disabilities.

Services are provided Free of Charge to individuals with disabilities and/or their family members, regardless of age, sex, disability, ethnic or racial background, or religious affiliation. Spanish speaking staff is available.

What are the Educational Advocacy Program services?

Information and Referral

  • Answer specific questions regarding IDEA, NYS Special Education Regulations (Part 200 and 201) and Section 504
  • Refer parents to community organizations, programs and providers
  • Connect families to resource and support groups specializing in children with specific disabilities

Direct and Indirect Advocacy

  • In-depth one-to-one case advocacy
  • Record review and strategic planning for an appropriate IEP
  • Empower parents to effectively advocate for their child
  • Attend school meetings with families for support and advocacy
  • Teach quality communication techniques to improve the relationship between members of the CPSE and CSE
  • Interpret federal and state Special Education laws

Peer Mentorship

  • Support families in navigating the Special Education process
  • Connect families with support groups and informative websites
  • Share the emotions and stresses of raising a child with special needs in a safe and understanding environment

Transition Planning

  • Assist students with disabilities, ages 14 - 21, prepare for life after school
  • Develop an appropriate IEP transition plan
  • Develop non-traditional community resources
  • Establish a team with the student's school, family and government services

Community Outreach/Education

The Educational Advocacy Program works with individuals, community organizations and state/national networks to:

  • Promote full inclusion of persons with disabilities into their communities
  • Heighten awareness and understanding of disability-related issues and laws
  • Improve the implementation of existing laws that affect persons with disabilities
  • Provide topic specific workshops on a regular basis

Workshops

The Educational Advocacy Program provides workshops for parents and professionals on a variety of topics relating to education, i.e., Special Education law, transition, learning disabilities, etc.

Websites

www.wilc.org and www.PutnamILS.org provide Educational Advocacy Program information; a schedule of up-coming workshops; and links to community agencies, NYS Special Education Regulations, disability-related organizations/publications, etc.

What can the Educational Advocacy Program help you do?

  1. Gain practical knowledge of your Special Education rights and the law
  2. Speak the language of "Special Education"
  3. Understand and manage your child's educational records
  4. Design and build long-term educational outcomes
  5. Effectively work with school professionals'
  6. Participate in CPSE, CSE and 504 meetings with greater confidence and knowledge
  7. Learn about local supports and services that are available for your child
  8. Provide peer mentorship

Where does the Educational Advocacy Program provide services?

Educational Advocacy Program services are provided throughout Westchester, Putnam, and lower Dutchess counties by members of WILC's/PILS' Educational Advocacy Program staff.


Regional Programs

These WILC/PILS programs serve 7 counties of the Lower Hudson Valley Region - Putnam, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, and Ulster.

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The following links provide information on topics of concern for persons with disabilities.

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WILC Main Office
200 Hamilton Avenue, 2nd Floor
White Plains, New York 10601
(914) 682-3926 (Voice)
866-933-5390 (VP/TTY)
(914) 682-8518 (FAX)
Directions to WILC

Satellite Office PILS
1961 Route 6, 2nd Floor
Carmel, New York 10512
845-228-7457 (Voice)
866-933-5390 (VP/TTY)
845-228-7460 (Fax)
Directions to PILS

Yonkers Outreach Office
Pathways to Success
75 Riverdale Avenue
Yonkers, New York 10701
914-376-8600 (Voice)

     
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