Every child deserves to achieve success in school. For children with special needs, additional supports are necessary to "level the playing field" and help them to reach their potential. Open Doors Educational Advocates are there to help families access the supports their children need.
More than 30 years of experience in
as Educators, Administrators
and Advocates in the Hudson Valley
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"My son Gavin was born hearing impaired and by the age of 2 had lost his hearing. When he was 3, he received his first Cochlear Implant and we were instructed to send him to a specialized school that had a program for children with cochlear implants. This was definitely the right place for Gavin for the first few years. However, around 2nd grade we started to notice no improvements if not regression. He was not speaking, not using ASL and could not read. When I voiced my concerns, I felt like no one seemed to have the same concerns as me. Then in 3rd grade, he was placed in a classroom that was run by a deaf teacher. Gavin was a hearing student and the program was to teach him to hear and speak as his primary form of communication. He did not understand his teacher, as he was not fluent in ASL and was falling further behind. Again I voiced my concerns, but yet he was moved up to 4th grade. In 4th grade, Gavin regressed even more. He was not doing the work and was left to draw all day if that’s what he wanted to do. I also found out that during this time, he was not receiving many of his services as teachers were out on leave. No one seemed to be concerned nor would help me.
It was around this time that I spoke with some of his past teachers that instructed me to get Gavin an advocate and I reached out to Open Doors. I’m so happy that I did, as everything got turned around from that point on. Meetings were immediately setup with Gavin’s school and our school district. Gavin was tested and based on his tests, the decision was made to retain Gavin in the 4th grade and bring him back into district. From the first day he started in the special ed. program at Valley Central we have seen huge improvements!
Gavin is now 16 and in 9th grade! He loves being in high school and being around his friends. Academically, although we are still behind, he has made huge improvements (reading, writing, speaking, etc.)! He is also leaning ASL through a tutor that the school has provided him and involved in the ASL Club that meets after school. He is also being inducted into the National Art Honor Society later this month.
One phone call to Open Doors opened many doors for my son that I never though were possible!"
"Triesha and Patty at Open Doors have been a huge blessing in our lives. Our family was completely unsure about navigating the world of special education and they were our best guides: calm, warm, professional, respectful and thorough. They listened to our every concern and provided us helpful insights along each step of our process. We had a lot of concerns that hiring an advocate might mean the relationship with the school district would take on an adversarial tone but that couldn't have been further from the truth. Having advocates meant that the school district took us very seriously. It signaled to the district that we were absolutely committed to getting the most appropriate services for our preschooler. During the few moments when there was tension with the district, Triesha and Patty coached us on how to diffuse the tension. Not only did they help us achieve all our goals for our child's needs, they also brought us peace-of-mind during the process. We are grateful for their assistance and would recommend them to other families without any reservation."
"It is with great confidence that I recommend Open Doors Educational Advocates. It is for their attentiveness, flexibility, knowledge, and determination that I make this recommendation. I have worked with the group over the past two school years to care for my son’s 504 plan. This was a very unique situation in the sense that my son already had an existing 504 plan, but due to its loose wording, it was being violated without the awareness of given teachers. Because of my emotional state, I decided to reach out to the group to represent my son to be sure that his needs were being met. Before our meeting at the school, I met with a few of the advocates to discuss the current conditions and review his 504 plan. In this meeting, they made very concrete recommendations and helped me to channel my emotions in a way that served my son. At our meeting with the school, administration was made aware of the violations and was informed that more specific language would help my son andhis teachers. From this point forward in the meeting, the school was compelled to work collaboratively with our advocate. In instances where the school was hesitant, the advocate provided strong rationale for why each accommodation was necessary and why the language had to be such. In addition to adding and rewording accommodations and testing modifications, the advocate further developed the 504 through adding specifics in terms of the health impairment affecting my son. After 6 years experience of navigating this on my own and also using other advocates, this was by far my best experience. I felt as though my son was thoroughly understood, supported and was being represented by those well informed of educational law and pedagogy.
Arguably the best part of my experience is the group’s continued interest in my son’s education as they check in with us frequently to be sure that his needs are being met by his 504 plan and that the particulars of it are being honored by the school. It has been two years of tremendous strides for my son and strongly recommend their services to anyone looking for an educational advocate."
"Our family is extremely grateful to Triesha and Patty at Open Doors! We had major concerns with the district particularly for one of our twins upon entering kindergarten. Triesha and Patty are very knowledgeable, professional, respectful, and heartfelt. Our goals were definitely achieved in addition to receiving additional services. We will always recommend Open Doors Educational Advocates. We truly believe that using an advocate especially upon entering the public school system sets a precedent and what your expectations of the district are going forward."
"I am an attorney, and the father of two elementary school aged-children with special needs; my wife was a stay at home mom to our boys. When my boys' special needs manifested themselves, my wife moved heaven and earth to figure out what special education resources were available for the boys, and how to access them. This was not easy, but she learned about the IEP process and how to best advocate for our boys at CPSE/CSE meetings. I would attend these meetings, but I was not familiar with what went into the preparation for the meeting, or even figuring out what to advocate for.
When my wife passed away, I had to prepare for two rapidly upcoming CSE meetings. Although I was prepared to advocate as necessary, I quickly realized that this was well outside of my expertise, and that advocating for my children in the context of a CSE meeting was very different than advocating for my commercial clients in a courtroom. Although, as an attorney, I was initially inclined to reach out to a fellow attorney in this practice area, on the recommendation of a friend I reached out to Triesha at Open Doors. Triesha, being a former special education administrator, was clearly familiar with the IEP process, what services and accommodations were available for my boys (and what services and accommodations were appropriate). Triesha quickly put me at ease that I was in good hands. Triesha and her team evidenced their knowledge and professionalism in the way they advocated for my boys, and the results of both CSE meetings (and those since) showed that. While I won't hesitate to retain appropriate counsel if such ever becomes necessary, Triesha and her team provide me with the security of knowing that is not likely to happen."
"Open Doors is fantastic! My son would've never graduated high school without their help and support. They taught me about things I had no clue that my son was entitled to. They fought for my son's legal rights and did not back down until he got everything he needed."
"Great professionals that work tirelessly to help children."
"I can say their consultation is very thorough! They have helped me gain knowledge in my child’s rights and I pull them in whenever necessary! "
If you are looking for an incredible group of education advocates, look no further than Open Doors Educational Advocates. I contacted Triesha and Patty when I was having some issues with my son's district and his IEP review. I had a consultation set up for two days later. In that time, Triesha and Patty studied my son's IEP and knew it better than me! They found where there was room for improvement, they found things that were missing, and informed us of what we could and should ask for from the district. A few weeks later, one of their advocates represented us at our review meeting. Not only did the the district agree to what they refused to agree to prior to hiring our advocates, but they agreed to everything else we asked for (at the recommendation of Open Doors). It was an incredibly tough meeting for me personally as my eyes were opened to just how 'different' some of my son's experiences will be at school because of his medical issues, but I felt supported and comforted throughout the entire meeting. I HIGHLY recommend Open Doors for anyone in need of an advocate. You will not be disappointed.
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