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State Resources
State Special Education Website

Set 1: http://www.isbe.net/rules/archive/pdfs/226ark.pdf
Set 2:

Due Process Hearing Decisions

Family Resource Center on Disablilities Volunteer Advocacy Project

The Volunteer Advocacy Project is a training program for individuals who are willing to become advocates for families as they navigate their way through the world of special education.

View the flyer, click here
Download the application, click here

For more Information contact Paula Wills at paula.wills@fred.org or call 312-939-3513.




Advocates & Attorneys

Advocacy for Children
901 Plymouth Suite 1003
Chicago, IL 60605

Phone: 312.663.0486
Cell: 312.953.3426
Practice Areas: Advocacy and educational consulting.
Geographical Area: Chicago, Illinois


C/O Voice Advocacy
7302 Lakesie Court
Frankfort, IL 60423-6923

Phone: 708.717.8393
Fax: 815.469.4929
Practice Areas: Special Education/IDEA, Section 504/Accommodations, Disability Discrimination/Civil Rights


LARA CLEARY (Attorney)
555 Skokie Blvd
Northbrook, IL 60062

Phone/Cell: 847.715.2801
Email: lara@hansencleary.com
Website: www.hansencleary.com
Practice Areas: Lara Cleary is a partner with the law firm of Hansen & Cleary, LLC. Her law practice is concentrated in the areas of special education and other disability law, school law, mental health and confidentiality of information, and representation of hospitals, non-profits, schools and mental health professionals.
Geographical Area: Illinois


605 South Lake Street
Gary, IN 46403

Phone: (219) 369-4900
Fax: (219) 654-2226
Email: cleary_pam@yahoo.com
Practice Areas: I work with parents of children with special needs to develop, implement and maintain special services designed for their child's appropriate education. With offices located in Illinois and Indiana, I am able to meet conveniently with you.
Geographical Area: Illinois and Indiana

MATT COHEN (Attorney)
Matt Cohen and Associates
155 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 715
Chicago, IL

Phone: 866.787.9270
Cell: 866.787.9270
Email: mdcspedlaw@gmail.com
Website: www.mattcohenandassociates.com
Practice Areas: Practice provides representation on all special education matters including eligibility, label, placement, methodology, related services, discipline, inclusion, Assistive Tech, Transition, Graduation and Private Placement. Practice also works with students denied accommodation in private schools and higher ed and with placement problems for adults with disabilities. Also handle insurance disputes.
Geographical Area: All of Illinois, and some involvement in Indiana and Wisconsin.

CHARLES FOX (Attorney)
Law Offices of Charles P. Fox

355 West Dundee. Suite 209
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089

Phone: 847.205.9897
Fax: 847.205.9897
Email: charlespfox@foxspecialedlaw.com
Website: www.foxspecialedlaw.com
Practice Areas: Special Education
Geographical: State of Illinois


1000 Capitol Drive
1609 Sherman Avenue
Suite 203
Wheeling, IL 60090

Phone: 847.947.5138
Email: elizabeth.grace@nl.edu
Practice Areas: Practice Areas: Special Education/IDEA, Section 504/Accommodations, K-12, Transitioning Youth, College, Specific Disabilities, Self-Advocacy Coaching

Additional Information: Experienced special education professor providing full range of advocacy services before, during and after meetings, as well as planning and other educational and life consulting, including self-advocacy coaching for youth and young adults.
Geographical Area:
Active throughout the suburban Chicagoland area; sliding scale available; no charge for initial consultation at Wheeling office.


PAMELA GUIMOND (Advocate, Advocate's Assistant)
Advocates for Special Education
2561 Shady Grove Court
Crete, IL 60417

Phone: 708.927.9326
Cell Phone: 708.927.9326
Email: pguimond@govst.edu
Website: advocatesforspecialeducation.com
Practice Areas: Aid with getting school children the services they need.
Practice Areas:
Chicago Southland

555 Skokie Blvd
Northbrook, IL 60062

Phone/Cell: 847.715.2801
Fax: 847.346.1923
Email: jennifer@hansencleary.com
Website: www.hansencleary.com
Practice Areas: Jennifer Hansen is a partner with the law firm of Hansen & Cleary, LLC. Ms. Hansen focuses her practice on the areas of special education law, school residency, school discipline matters, mental health law, probate and guardianship matters, criminal and civil litigation for juveniles and adults, confidentiality issues, bullying investigations, post-secondary education matters (including appealing post-secondary dismissals), DCFS and child welfare matters, school employment issues, and domestic relations as a Guardian ad Litem, Child’s Representative, and/or Attorney for the Child.
Geographical Area: Illinois

Amyra W. Henry, LCSW, ACSW
1866 Sheridan Road, Suite 305
Highland Park, IL 60035

Phone/Cell: 847.380.2591
Fax: 847.433.0761
Email: amyrahenry@gmail.com
Website: http://www.amyrahenry.com
Practice Areas:
Over twenty years of experience as a school social worker for SEDOL, a Lake County special education cooperative. Additionally, a private psychotherapist in Highland Park, Illinois, providing educational advocacy, evaluation and treatment to children, teens and adults.

As a clinical educational advocate, I have valuable understanding of assessment, development of 504 Plans and IEPs, direct classroom service and teacher consultation.

I am committed to helping challenged students achieve their potential through early identification and evaluation of needs, resulting in access to appropriate interventions. My services focus simultaneously on addressing student needs, and helping parents navigate the challenging special education process.

Practice Areas: Northeastern Illinois


CASE Advocacy

36 Main Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

Phone: 312.286.7565
Email: sharon.jacobellis@gmail.com
Website: chicagoareaspecialeducationadvocacy.com
Practice Areas: I will work with you to navigate the entire special education process. I specialize in IEP's, Manifestation Determination Reviews, 504 Plans, and ensuring that your child is receiving the services that he or she needs to be successful in the school setting. As an experienced special education teacher and administrator who knows the "other side of the table" well, I welcome the opportunity to advocate on behalf of families and their child's needs. My expertise will bring a thoughtful, cooperative, and professional resolution on your behalf.
Geographical Area:
Chicago and Suburbs. Will consult throughout the State of Illinois.


Law Offices of Charles P. Fox
3710 Commercial Ave. Suite 6
Northbrook, IL 60062

Phone: 847.205.9897
Fax: 847.205.9897
Email: njorwic@foxspecialedlaw.com
Website: www.foxspecialedlaw.com
Practice Areas: Special Education
Geographical: State of Illinois


1307 Belmeade Dr.
Champaign, IL 61821

Phone: 217.493.4762
Email: dbk1946@yahoo.com
Areas of Practice: IDEA, ICG, RAD, Sexual/Physical Abuse as Victims/Perpetrators, Termination of Adoptions. 35 Years experience as an attorney (now retired) in these areas. Former Adjunct Professor/Lecturer UIUC College of Law/School of Social Work
Geographical Area: East Central Illinois; others by arrangement.


Law Offices of Thomas E. Kennedy, III, L.C.
230 S. Bemiston Ave. Ste. 800
St. Louis, MO 63105

Phone: 314.872.9041
Email: tkennedy@tkennedylaw.com
Website: tkennedylaw.com
Areas of Practice: Civil rights, special education, disability rights, guardianships, foster care and adoptive parent representation, social security appeals
Geographical Area: Missouri and Illinois


The Law Office of Michael L. Kiser
630 W. Drummond Place
Chicago, IL 60614

Phone: 773-327-5312
Email: mike@mikekiserlaw.com
Website: www.mikekiserlaw.com
Areas of Practice:Representing elementary and secondary special education and general education students.
Geographical Area:Illinois

From Advocacy to Action
231 Bingham Circle
Mundelein, IL 60060

Phone: 847.401.5053
Cell: 847.401.5053
Fax: 847.566.4431
Email: plabellarte@gmail.com
Website: www.fromadvocacy2action.com
Practice Areas: Special Education/IDEA,Section 504/Accommodations,Manifestation Determination Review, Mediation, All Neuropsychological Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Aspergers, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Behavioral Challenges/Discipline, Bi Polar Disorder, Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Chronic Health Conditions, Communication Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Developmental Disabilities, Down Syndrome, Dyslexia, Emotional Behavior Disorder/Disturbance, Executive Function, Health Impairments, Hearing Impairment/Deafness, Intellectual Disabilities, K-12, Learning Disabilities (LD), Mood Disorders, Multiple Disabilities, Neurological Developmental Delays, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), School Refusal/Phobic, Sensory Integration /Processing Disorder, Serious Emotionally Disturbance, Social Skills Deficits, Specific Disabilities: Orthopedically Impaired, Speech and Language Disorder, Tourette Syndrome, Transitioning Youth, Twice Exceptional
Geographical: Northeastern Illinois, Southeastern Wisconsin


Kids First Collaborative
319 S. Naperville Road, Suie 203
Wheaton, IL 60137

Practice Areas: Kimberly Melton Lechner, Ph.D. is an experienced school psychologist and school administrator in private practice. Dr. Melton Lechner provides comprehensive psycho-educational evaluations as well as a full range of special education advocacy services.
Practice Areas:
Consulting services available across IL, direct advocacy and assessment services available in Chicago and surrounding suburban area


Special Education Advocacy and Counseling
1940 Sherman Ave. Suite A,
Evanston, IL 60201

(847) 556-8676
Practice Areas:I have been a licensed clinical social worker for over 20 years, specializing in school age children with emotional, behavioral and learning challenges. I provide special education advocacy services for families struggling to get appropriate services for their child with special needs. I also provide counseling services for parents and siblings of children with special needs.
Practice Areas:
Serving Chicago and nearby suburbs


Advocacy for the Special Ones in Your Life
Elgin, IL

Phone: 630-639-0343
Email: lauriemcdevitt@gmail.com
Practice Areas: As a special educator and parent, I work in all areas of school advocacy. I work for the rights of parents and students.
Practice Areas:
Elgin, IL and the surrounding suburbs


Advocates for Special Education
2561 Shady Grove Court
Crete, IL 60417

Phone: 309.531.2053
Practice Areas: Special Education/IDEA, Mediation, Resolution Meetings, IEP's, Due Process Hearings
Practice Areas:
Northern and Central Illinois


Law Offices of Thomas E. Kennedy, III, L.C.
230 S. Bemiston Ave. Ste. 800
St. Louis, MO 63105

Phone: 314.872.9041

Areas of Practice: Civil rights, special education, disability rights, guardianships, foster care and adoptive parent representation, social security appeals
Geographical Area: Missouri and Illinois


STL Advocates
PO Box 7602
Chesterfield, MO 63006-7602

Phone: 314-384-2270
Email: larry@stladvocate.com
Website: www.stladvocate.com

Areas of Practice:
School systems (IEP, 504 plans, General Education Inclusion, Private School resources)
Funding sources – Governmental, Non-profit, private, community.
Social outreach to communities and businesses.
Family financial planning.
Housing / Residential living
Business development for People with Disabilites (PWD)
Caregiver training

Geographical Area: MO, IL


JOAN PANOPOULOS(Advocate, Reading Specialist)
Phone: 708.692.3601
Practice Areas: Assessments of reading disabilities, educational recommendation for specific individual's reading disability, remediation and advocacy of reading disability
Geographical Area:
Dupage County and Southwestern Cook County, Illinois


DR. RO (Advocate)
DREAM Education Consulting
606 Haines Ave
Dallas, TX 75208

Phone: 214-794-8060
Email: drro.consultdream@gmail.com
Website: www.consultdream.com
Practice Areas: Comprehensive services and programs are offered to suit your needs.
Geographical Area:


Institute for Family Development


1009 6th Street
PO Box 942
Durant, Iowa 52747

Phone: 563.249.4703
Cell Phone: 563.249.4703
Email: monicarouse@ymail.com
Areas of Practice:
I am a licensed educational administrator in Iowa and Illinois; degrees in English and educational administration and leadership
Geographical Areas:
Illinois and Iowa (residence)

Navigating the needs of special education can be a challenge for any parent, regardless of one's own knowledge of special education laws. Your child deserves the services to which he/she is entitled according to the law. Let me help as this is my passion in serving families who are struggling with the public education system for any number of reasons.


PO Box 56212
Chicago, IL 60656

Phone: 312.473.1519
Email: krudzinski2@gmail.com
Practice Areas:
Multi state licensed special education and regular education teacher, IL Director of Special Education,other administrative.
IEP review,Due Process and Mediation,Progress monitoring,Manifestation Determination,assistance,consultation and attendance.
Geographical Areas:
Illinois and Northwest Indiana.


Exceptional Advocacy

150 S. Washington Street
Carpentersville, IL 60110

Phone: 847.507.1780
Email: judyruffulo@exceptionaladvocacy.com
Practice Areas:
More than 15 years experience advocating for students with disabilities. Caring, affordable and expert assistance for families. Flexible service plans, sliding scale fees.
Geographical Areas:
Northern Illinois


Midwest Care Management Services, Inc.

1329 W. Loyola, Suite G4
Chicago, IL 60626

Phone: 773.301.4622
Fax: 773.675.1911
Practice Areas:
A private case management agency that offers effective educational planning and advocacy services for individuals with special needs, their families, and caregivers. MIDWEST's goal is to identify needs and build a highly personalized care plan that empowers individuals with a maximum level of independence and overall quality of life.
Geographical Areas:
Illinois, Florida


DAVID SAXE (Attorney)

121 South Wilke Road
Suite 301
Arlington Heights, IL 60005

Phone: 224-800-1351
Fax: 847-797-9090
Website: www.davidsaxelaw.com
Email: dsaxe@davidsaxelaw.com
Practice Areas:
Parent and student rights in education including IEP and Section 504 meetings; special education evaluations, eligibility, services, and placement; student discipline and bullying; residency issues; student privacy; due process proceedings; settlement negotiations; and mediation.
Geographical Areas:
Greater Chicagoland area with offices in Arlington Heights and Naperville.


Wanzenberg & Associates

386 Pennsylvania Ave
Suite 3SW
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Phone: 630.545.0234
Cell: 630.926.6385
Fax: 888.271.0887

Website: www.iepguardians.org
Email: mw@iepguardians.org
Practice Areas:
Our family empowerment model addresses:
a.) Parent training in special education rules and rights: Applying the “rules of the game” is often the most important skill to master in the IEP setting. We can supplement your understanding of your child’s rights with down to earth and practical explanations of terms, timelines, and modes of dispute resolution. We assist families of students with disabilities in navigating complex local, state, and federal entitlement systems.
b.) Perspective blending in complex school systems: With over 16 years in several school systems as a district representative, Dr. Wanzenberg can qualify and strategize for various team members’ points of view. Moreover, Wanzenberg and his staff are trained to examine (a.) competing priorities within schools which may be adverse to your interests as a parent, (b.) conflicts with a school’s resource allocation, and (c.) compliance dilemmas that may adversely impact how your child is served in special education.
c.) Child-centered collaboration with staff and specialists: It is very easy for IEP teams to get lost in the process of special education and lose sight of the child behind the plan. When needed, we assist the family in reattaching the “ground wire to the faulty circuit.” We train parents to capitalize on a team’s strengths in a supportive and manner, but are also prepared to critique and problem solve dilemmas as they arise.
d.) Development of self-advocacy skills for family and child: Setting reasonable goals and an action plan is the first part of the process. However, your rights in special education are conditional and limited to your child’s public education. We place a high priority on generalization of independent skills to the adult world where supports and services vary greatly from the public school experience.
e.) A clear plan for a family’s self-determination in the educational process: The professionals at Wanzenberg and Associates will learn about your concerns, your experiences, and assist you in developing a plan that provides for the optimal level of independence for your child. This plan includes how to access important legal and financial resources throughout the special education system.
f.) Situational advocacy: Different situations call for different types of advocacy. Knowing how and when to apply various advocacy skills is critical in the process of IEP negotiating. We assist families in understanding which advocacy palette to choose from and how to prioritize your concerns in an effective manner.
Dynamic communication: The value of our services is best revealed by the high degree of communication with all stakeholders in the support process. Where directed, we communicate with third parties who maintain unique understanding of a student’s profile.
g.) Long-term planning for student independence: Every service we provide supports an ethic to provide for an independent learner. We focus intensively on transitions between grade level, placements, and --ultimately-- to the community.
Geographical Areas:
Primarily Chicagoland with service to families in all states

ELIZABETH A. ZAVODNY, Psy.D., M.S.Ed. (Advocate)
The Institute for Family Development

15010 S. Ravinia Ave.
Suite 19
Orland Park, IL 60462

Phone: 708.403.3200
Email: ifd@comcast.net

Practice Areas: Educational Advocate for Special Education/IDEA and Section 504. Psychological and Neuropsychological Evaluations (including Indepedent Educational Evaluations in Illinois), Staff Training, Accommodation Development

Geographical Area: Primarily Northeast Illinois and Northwest Indiana, but also available for consultation and services throughout Illinois.


The information provided by Advocates for Special Education on this website is subject to change based upon the availability of new laws, caselaw, interpretations, research, and other developments in the field.

Advocates for Special Education does not endorse, recommend, or make representations with respect to any legal interpretations, research, services, programs, medications, products, or treatments that may be referenced on the website.

The material provided here is designed for educational and informational purposes only. Advocates for Special Education is not rendering legal or other advice or recommendations. You should not rely on any information on the website to replace consultations with qualified legal, educational, health care or other professionals to meet your individual needs.

Reference to any program, service, treatment or therapy option is not an official endorsement by Advocates for Special Education.