© 2018 by: Elizabeth Gary

50 Oak Court, Suite 100

Danville, CA 94526

T: (925) 263-1770

info@seadvocacy.com

HEAR WHAT PARENTS HAVE TO SAY:

Todd was able to get our son the services and placement that he needs when we had been previously unsuccessful on our own. He was helpful, professional, compassionate and attentive. He was also honest and forthright with us throughout the IEP process. During school meetings, he knows exactly what to ask, when to push back, and when to let us as parents speak. He made sure that our voice was given equal weight in the team discussions. We now have a strong academic plan and behavioral plan in place for our child in school and he is thriving! We could not have accomplished this without Todd. More than any of that, he was able to help us restore our relationship with the school district to a positive place. We trust him with the most important parts of our lives: our children.

                --M.S.

I wanted my daughter assessed for learning disabilities, and we faced resistance from the teacher and principal. We knew we needed help, and thank goodness we found Marilyn.  Marilyn is so exceptional in her work as an advocate.  She truly cares about my daughter and what happens with her education.  Marilyn has a unique knowledge of how the district works, as well as the 504/IEP process.  The school performed an inadequate assessment.  Marilyn assisted us in getting an independent evaluation that the district must pay.  Marilyn has gone above and beyond her role as an advocate.  She is a fighter for those children who don’t have a voice and those who would otherwise suffer without a professional assessment.  Now, my daughter with has the accommodations that she needs to be successful.  I highly recommend Marilyn for the 504/IEP process.  She helped us through a confusing and very stressful process and always listened to our concerns.  It was a team effort.  Working with Marilyn was the best decision we ever made!  Thank goodness for people like her.

               --E.D.

With two kids with IEPs, Todd has been an invaluable resource for our family. We love his commitment to trying to find common ground and politely educating “the people in the room”, while at the same time not allowing anything to go unnoticed.  He is honest, forthright, understanding, funny and an expert advocate.  He always seems to know exactly the right question to ask at the right time.  First, and above all, Todd will try to build you a bridge, if that fails, though, he knows how to stand firm and bring resolution.

               --L.W. and D.H.

We were having a very difficult time getting the school to agree to changes in my 15-year-old daughter’s IEP and placement.  They dug in their heels and would not budge.  It was the worst IEP process that I had ever endured for any of my three Special Needs kids.  Marilyn listened to our situation and developed an approach to accomplish our goals for our daughter.  It was like a breath of fresh air— we had hope again!  At the next IEP meeting, Marilyn eloquently reminded the team how important it was that everyone be heard, and that the team put the needs of the student first.  She established that we parents had the power to help determine what was best for our daughter.  When staff later became oppositional, Marilyn interjected strong, positive points that led to the staff changing their stance and finally agreeing to the change of placement we proposed.  We could not have accomplished our goals if it had not been for Marilyn’s knowledge, skill, and expertise.  Our daughter is now thriving in her new program and we will forever be thankful to Marilyn for her help.  If we ever have problems like this again, we will immediately ask Marilyn to help us. 

                --G.B.

We’ve been blessed with two very special boys, both whom have special needs.  Todd Gary has been instrumental in our advocacy for them.  As most know, there is no “parent manual” or “road map” for what to do, what questions to ask, and what resources are available to properly and confidently support your child’s growth and education.  Todd's advocacy  provides crucial insight into the special education world, and invaluable support in the IEP process.  Todd builds a bridge between you and the school representatives to confidently support your child.  To help us navigate this challenging world, we couldn’t be happier with having made the decision to secure Todd’s expertise and knowledge, as he has rich experience from both sides.  To compare where we started this journey with our boys, and where we are now, it’s truly something special, and we owe a great deal of that to Todd. 

                --R.H. and V.H.

With a supportive school district and a tricky kid, I was able to handle the 504, the IEP, and the ERMHS process on my own.  But when we needed to change districts and request a private placement, I knew I was in over my head.  Todd Gary was recommended as an advocate to help us navigate the next steps.  He took our first call and listened to our story, and he reassured us that we had a very good case.  He set up crucial meetings with the district, supported us in our request, and helped secure a private placement for our daughter at the school we had chosen (with funding for one year).  Todd is knowledgeable about the process and acquainted with the people in special education.  We trusted him and his judgement, and felt relief that he was able to secure the outcome our child needed.  I highly recommend Todd Gary! 

                --C.K.

When raising a special needs child no one ever guides through the processes and procedures necessary for your child to succeed within the public school system much less beyond school life.    As we entered into 11th grade we realized our son was going to require more services than the district led us to believe he was eligible for.  Marilyn took the time to get to know our son and family, looking at his lengthy history with our district, the special education system as well as corresponding directly with the medical professional.  Upon coming into the first IEP it was a full house, by the end of the meeting the team all agreed our son did require more assistance and after further testing he was indeed eligible for the additional resources, the use of adaptive technologies and much to our surprise assistance with job placement and follow-up on job site by the school and district. 

This has been an incredible journey with Marilyn, we will be forever grateful.

                --C.F. and M.F.

We are the parents of a twice-exceptional child who needed a 504 plan.  We struggled with our child's school for a long time and were very frustrated. Then, we found out about Todd's services.  He was able to successfully obtain a 504 plan for our child, and helped us to continue the plan as our child changed schools.  There is no way we would have had success without Todd.  He knows the school personnel in our district and has a history of positive longstanding relationships with them.  This made the whole process go very smoothly.  Todd's philosophy is to give the parents and child as much voice as possible, but step in when necessary to advocate.  He knows exactly what to say and when which is key.  He makes an effort to connect with the child and help them in their own journey towards advocating for themselves.  As a parent and healthcare professional, I can also say that Todd has a great reputation and consistently gets the job done for his clients!

                --J.H. and M.H.      

Marilyn helped us in the IEP process for our two children.  It was a struggle to get the services we needed to support both kids in school.  She helped us to feel confident even though it was a very stressful and critical time.  She met with us outside and on the phone to prepare our strategy and discuss our concerns. That was very helpful.

We worked with Marilyn in every one of our IEP meetings and she helped us make our case for both of them.  During the IEP meetings she helped to diffuse the heated discussions at times or to clarify for us what was going on.  Sometimes we did not understand what the “IEP language speak” was indicating.  Marilyn supported us in helping us to use our voices as parents to make the case points that had to come from the parents.  Marilyn helped us to get the IEP to address his need. The school was fighting that they didn’t want to give our son the SLP support where he could get practice and help with his pragmatic language.  She was instrumental in pushing through the SLP services.  Marilyn helped us to get addressed his social needs and not just academic. 

Marilyn was able to get the support and accommodations and services to help with our child’s Stress and Executive function issues.  The school’s OT report mismatched what we knew of our kids struggles.  She was then on our side successfully getting an Independent Evaluation (IE) from outside OT district paid for it.  More importantly outside OT was helpful getting a new set of goals into IEP to help our children. Without Marilyn’s help and advice all of this would not have been possible.  She truly cares for the parents like us and children with challenges like ours. We knew that from the very first meeting. We are so thankful that she is on our team.

                --M.M. and D.L.

Todd has guided us through multiple IEPs and other types of school meetings.  He is respectful of our opinions while providing expert advice on the pros and cons of our direction.  Todd’s experience as an advocate (and parent) has proven invaluable as we navigate our child’s path through school.

                --S.K. and R.K.