PREPARING FOR THE INTAKE MEETING
So how does a parent begin the process? Lori Waldinger understands that dealing with a child with special needs can be a highly-emotional, complex and overwhelming time for parents. Over the past few decades, she has worked with hundreds of families helping them navigate the bureaucracies involved in finding an educational program that “fits” their child’s unique needs. It is here that Ms. Waldinger’s expertise is of most value, acting as the parent and child’s advocate in providing key services and support through this difficult and emotionally-charged process.
Before meeting with Ms. Waldinger, if at all possible, it is helpful for the parent/guardian to obtain copies of all school records, including Special Education files, cumulative files, and discipline files.
In addition, it is important to secure medical records that may include psychiatric hospitalization reports and from specialists who are currently or have previously worked with the child (therapist, tutor, speech therapist, behaviorist, etc.).
Prior to initiating any advocacy services, Ms. Waldinger will meet with the family to review and discuss the child’s educational, medical and mental health background information. She will listen to the family’s concerns and issues and obtain details about what has led to the current issues. By the conclusion of this meeting, in concert with the family and based on the student’s needs, a plan of action will be developed, including whether to proceed with Ms. Waldinger’s advocacy services.