New Jersey Special Education Advocate


For Bergen County and Northern New Jersey


Are you ready to get your child the help they need?

We help you navigate through the special education maze.

Get us on your team!

Contact me for a free, no obligation consultation.


Find our more: Your Child

Your Child

I’ve been there.
As a parent, parent group leader, and advocate.

I’ve seen otherwise happy kids come home from school frustrated or upset (see warning signs).
Avoiding reading or homework. Getting into trouble. Leaving class. Acting “sick”.

At first my wife handled it. She grew exasperated.
She begged me to come to a school meeting.
We requested a formal evaluation, but were denied.

Like you, I did the research. On the internet. Talked to other parents.
The terminology was confusing. The process – exhausting.
Once we got the evals (Difficulty/Diagnosis), they were difficult to understand.
The more I learned, the more I need to know.

We heard lots of explanations why everything was fine – but it wasn’t.
“Every child is different”. “They’ll catch up”. “They’ll grow out of it”. “We’re providing lots of support”.
Unfortunately, my kids were not getting what they needed.

When they actually got what they needed, it was magic.
With the right interventions, my frustrated kids closed the gap, built skills and gained confidence.
I sought help from a professional advocate so I could help my kids.
Now, I’ll help you and your kids.

Contact me for a free, no obligation consultation.

Find out more: You

Warning Signs

The most common reasons parents (we’re including guardians including grandparents) seek help for their child, by age:
Age 0-3

  • Your child is not developing per standard milestones, e.g. delayed speech
  • Your child has been diagnosed with a disability, e.g. by a M.D.
  • Your child is in a Early Intervention Program

Age 3-5 (Pre-school and Kindergarten)

  • Your child is displaying unusual behavior in or around school, e.g. anxious/crying, withdrawn, eloping (leaving class), doing poorly, lacks friends, inattentive, hyperactive, aggressive/acting out.
  • Teacher(s) have expressed concern about your child’s progress
  • Your child has been referred for evaluation or to, or is in an intervention program, including I&RS, BSI, 504, IHP, or IEP.

Age 6-21 (Grade School, Middle School and High School, Grades 1-12)

  • Any of the items above
  • Your child is not keeping up with peers, e.g. poor class or standardized (e.g. PARCC) test scores, below average reading levels, unusual behavior with homework or home reading/projects, dislikes or refuses to go to school, is being bullied.
  • In-class or other interventions, e.g. Tutoring, I&RS (Intervention & Referral Services), BSI (Basic Skills Instruction), IHP (Individual Health Plan), IEP (Individual Education Plan) do not seem to be effective
  • Your child has been diagnosed with a disability or is “classified”
  • Your child is regressing, not progressing, or not meeting their potential.

Any Age

  • You are concerned with accuracy, credibility or completeness of what you are being told by professionals.
  • Your child is being unfairly excluded from classes or events.
  • Your child is or has been suspended
  • Your child has been denied a program or services that you feel you are entitled to.
  • You want to file complaint or suit against the school staff or District
  • The school has filed a complaint or due process against you.
  • You or your child has been discriminated against, harassed, intimidated or retaliated against.

Difficulty/Diagnosis

More than 20% of children are estimated to have some sort of difficulty or learning difference that interferes with their academic, social or emotional progress in school. Sometimes the difficulty is not diagnosed or may be minimized (e.g. “every child is different”, “your child will grow out of it”).


Some difficulties qualify as a “disability” due to their nature or severity. While many parents don’t like the term, if your child has a disability, he/she may be eligible for extra assistance from the school that can help them academically, emotionally or socially.
We’ll help you understand how to get a correct diagnosis, understand the criteria for assistance and figure out how they apply to your child. While your child will not “grow out “ of a true disability, effective accommodations and services help the child access the school’s program.
The most common difficulties are “hidden,” meaning they not obvious by looking at the child for a short time. Often children exhibit one or more of these (“co-morbid”):


ADHD: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (includes ADD). Child has difficulty focusing or concentrating especially on more demanding tasks (inattentive type), has signs of being “Hyper” (can’t sit still, excessive motion) or both (combined type).
Autism Spectrum Disorder: (ASD, includes Asperger’s Syndrome): Child has ongoing social weaknesses, including difficulty interacting with others including maintaining eye contact; repetitive behaviors, limited and often intense interests; sensory issues (unusual reaction to stimuli) and one or more of the other difficulties on this page.
Emotional: Child exhibits emotional or behavioral symptoms e.g. of anxiety, oppositional or defiant (ODD), obsessive or compulsive (OCD).
Language: Child may separately have delayed or limited expressive language (talking), receptive language (understanding spoken language) or pragmatic language (use of language in social situations, e.g. “getting the joke”).
Learning Disability: Child has difficulty with reading, writing or arithmetic/math, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia. In New Jersey, a severe discrepancy (between intelligence as measured by IQ and academic achievement) is typically required for the child to be made eligible for special education (“classified”) for this condition.
Speech: Speech is sometimes used interchangeability with language (see above), because they are both usually treated with speech/language therapy. Child may not be speaking or has limited or delayed speech (including apraxia), is not fluent, does not produce speech sounds correctly/hard to understand (articulation), talks too loud or too softly, or stutters.
Social Skills: Child has difficulty interacting or communicating with others, e.g. relating to other children, playing or working in groups, lacks friends.
Twice Exceptional (or 2E). A child that has one or more of the difficulties on this page but is also gifted in one or more areas.
Some difficulties are more “physical” and therefore sometimes more apparent:
Hearing/Auditory Processing: Child could be hard of hearing in one or both ears, deaf, or may have difficulty distinguishing voices in a noisy environment (including decoding audio processing disorder-DAPD).
Small or Gross Motor Skills: Child may have difficulty in drawing, writing or other small motor skills (or receiving Occupational Therapy) or gross motor skills (e.g. walking, sitting, standing) that inhabit participation in school activities including gym and extra-curricular activities like sports.

Other difficulties include poor vision (including blindness), development disabilities (e.g. Fragile X Syndrome, Down syndrome, Pervasive Development disorders (PDD), Fetal Alcohol syndrome, Cerebral Palsy (CP), Intellectual Disability; Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); Tourette’s Syndrome..

You

Raising a typical child is hard enough; you are probably spending extra time, money and effort helping a child who has more than typical difficulties. Sometimes the child needs so much extra time that it becomes stressful, and may affect your health, earnings, job, or relationship with your spouse and other children.

Parents frequently are concerned with one or more of the following:
Time and Expense.  We help you prioritize and take effective action within your means and capacity.. We help you get your child the accommodations & services they need to become more confident, keep up with their peers, interact with adults and other children more effectively, stay or become willing to go to participate and go school.
StigmaWe help you learn to how to deal  with your (and for older children, their child’s) concern that your child will be identified, teased, etc. if they get extra help.
Getting Along. We help you assertively advocate for your and your child’s rights and collaborate to maintain a good relationship with your school District.

Guilt. We help you overcome doubts in order to effectively advocate for your child.
ConfusionWe patiently educate you with the process and terminology for special education including how to deal with meetings with ½ dozen or more school personnel.

Contact me for a free, no obligation consultation.
Find out more: Us

Us

Michael Flom

Your Child is Exceptional. So are we.

Michael Flom is an award-winning special education advocate, quoted in local, regional and national publications.

Compassionate. We understand what you’re going through because we’ve been there. We help you make the special education process more understandable and productive to reduce anxiety.
Responsive. We know that your child’s welfare is critical to you. We listen carefully to your needs and preferences, and respond rapidly. We can work in the background advising you or by attending meetings with your school. You and your child are important to us.
Economical. We know you have limited time and funds. We offer free initial consultations to qualified parents, competitive rates, and will apply creativity based on your ability to pay when possible. We’ll suggest free or lower cost strategies and resources, and help you choose. We work with you to minimize our time and cost. We recommend attorneys and other experts where needed and cost-effective. We cannot offer legal advice but can perform certain tasks more economically than an attorney.
Education. We invest in education – Wrightslaw, NJPA, College of William and Mary Law School Special Education Institute, Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA) to keep our skills sharp and up to date.
Experience. We continue to get results in a wide variety of challenging, situations, disabilities and school Districts. If your case needs more specialized expertise than we can offer, we’ll refer you. We’ve headed or participated in parent support and advocacy groups at the District, State and National levels.​


Contact us now for a free, no-obligation consultation
Click or press to learn more about our services or process. ​

Our Services

Our services include:

  • Securing student records (e.g. under FERPA, OPRA).
  • Review and interpretation of student records including evaluations and plans (e.g. I&RS, BSI, 504, IHP, IEP, report cards, disciplinary reports, standardized tests, medical, psychological assessments, transition plans)
  • Securing District and District-paid or parent-supplied Independent Evaluations (IEE’s) and other third party evaluations.
  • Getting your child classified and in an appropriate placement, including out of district placements.
  • Getting your child an appropriate plan, e.g. 504, IEP, Transition, ESY (Extended School Year) with Specific, Meaningful, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based (S.M.A.R.T.) Goals and Objectives, Appropriate Services, Parent Training, Accommodations, and Modifications,
  • Reviewing progress and determining the need for updates to plans.
  • Preparing, requesting or filing or participating in observations, formal requests, resolution meetings, mediations, due process, board, state, OCR, ADA and OPRA complaints as required.
  • Referrals to evaluators, teachers, agencies, tutors & attorneys where required.
  • Developing and advocating common (systemic) parents concerns or issues through Superintendent’s and Boards of Education or helping with the formation or operation of parents groups (support, PTA/PTO, Special Education Parent Advisory Committees/Parent Teacher Groups (SEPAC’s, SEPTA’s, SEPTO’s).

Contact us now for a free, no-obligation consultation
Click or press to learn more about our process

Our Process

Our Process
Our process is customized for your and your child’s situation. Key elements of a typical process include:
Initial Consultation. This consultation helps us understand your and your child’s situation and help us each determine whether we are a fit for your and your child’s needs.
Intake. We request and review key documentation and a statement of your and your child issues, and concerns. We develop and share with you an analysis and strategy.
Requests and Responses. We write or help you write requests and responses to the school as appropriate, e.g. for evaluations, IEP’s, complaints or other actions.
Follow-up. Follow-up is critical to help ensure continued results. We check with you as needed, e.g. every semester or annually, to make sure your child is getting the services he or she needs to succeed.


Contact us now for a free, no-obligation consultation

Contact Us Now


We’ll email you back to setup a time to talk.

or call (201) 378-0059. Be sure to leave your name and number.