Many parents of children with disabilities feel lost when it comes to dealing with how to navigate the Special Education process.
The law is designed to protect the rights of children who require specialized instruction. However, parents struggle getting their children evaluated, classified, and having an appropriate program developed to meet their unique needs in the least restrictive environment.
We provide the needed information and advocacy services to ensure that all children receive a free appropriate public education.
Cheryl is a professional advocate and is the founder of Child Means Child, a special education consulting agency. She graduated Felician University in 2000, and is a New Jersey licensed special education teacher. Cheryl was formally trained by Marilyn Arons at the Parent Information Center of New Jersey from 2002-2004. Marilyn later became, and continues to be, her mentor as Cheryl works to assist families of special needs children obtain the Free Appropriate Public Education ("FAPE") in the Least Restrictive Environment ("LRE") appropriate to meet their unique needs.
Although Cheryl became a certified special education teacher 18 years ago, she worked in a school district for only the first 2 years. She left the school district after having an IEP meeting for a student where the head of the child study team said "your child is not entitled to the Mercedes of devices" to a parent. She knew that particular device was exactly what that child needed, that it wasn't the "Mercedes," it was what was appropriate. She gave notice that very day that she would not be returning the following year. Since that time, advocating for the needs and rights of special needs children has been her passion. In addition, her two year old has a rare syndrome requiring services, and she knows she will soon be advocating for her daughter's unique needs.
Since that time she has done private practice work, has been supervisor and trainer of teachers at 2 different agencies, and has been advocating for the needs and rights of special children.
Shannon is a Licensed Associate Counselor and an Advocate at Child Means Child, LLC.
She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University and completed her masters degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology at William Paterson University.
Shannon has been working at Child Means Child for 3 years as an advocate and continues her work as a counselor running parent support groups for parents of children with special needs.
Barbara began her career as a Delivery Room/ Neonatal intensive care nurse at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. During her nursing career she worked in a pediatric emergency clinic and pediatric hemodialysis.
In 1997 she enrolled in a class on I.D.E.A. Law taught by Marilyn Arons. Upon completion of the class she began training and working as an advocate with Mrs. Arons at the Parent Information Center. She has been involved as a special education advocate in every step of the IDEA process from referral through due process. Five years ago she completed a degree as a paralegal in order to further her understanding of the legal system.
Barbara and her husband Ken are the parents of three grown children and a granddaughter. Two of their children were classified as special needs in elementary school.