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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get started?

Please complete the appointment request form to help us understand the type of services your child needs.

Our new client intake process commences with a thorough discussion and review of your child's educational records. To serve you better, Special Education Guru will provide you with our onboarding forms. The forms will guide you through your child's school history, including special education evaluations, interventions, programs, services, eligibility, and supports. 

We also ask that you provide copies of your child's most current Individualized Education Program or Section 504 plan (if applicable), previous evaluations, school records, and educational documents. 

Once Dr. Laurie Hoke has analyzed your child's educational records, we will discuss the initial impressions and recommendations.  

How would you best describe your advocacy style?

I have had a long career on "the other side of the table." Working on the school side of things as both a psychologist and special education administrator. The experience has provided me a comprehensive insight into the types of questions parents should be asking (but often do not). Also, I am able to review the types of services parents could receive for their child and the specialized terminology and language commonly used that many parents find unfamiliar.

My experiences working with families and their parents inside the school system have provided me insight into the anxiety and fear of a struggling student, whether that is an academic or a behavioral struggle.

These experiences also provided me with the essential skills necessary to assist parents in the "out of the box thinking" that is usually essential when striving to obtain a school educational program that is effective for the child struggling.

My goal is to be collaborative and focused on the rights that you should have for your child. 

What is included in a comprehensive educational evaluation?

Dr. Hoke conducts an individualized educational assessment of your child's academic, cognitive, social, and/or emotional functioning. Dr. Hoke's individualized evaluations start with an intake interview to review your child's areas of need and his or her strengths. Dr. Hoke will design an assessment battery that is based precisely on the referral concern. In some cases, Dr. Hoke will speak with your child before testing. Also, Dr. Hoke may ask to talk with your child's school team, observe your child at home, and school with your permission. 

Should I let my child's school know that I have hired a consultant? 

Each case and situation is unique. However, we support parents' decision to notify their child's school teams about hiring outside education consultants. We are dedicated to collaborating with your school team in a manner that centers your child's success. Again, every circumstance is unique and special. Some families do not need direct advocacy services. Some of our clients simply want Dr. Hoke to examine their child's school records, offer recommendations for improvement, and coach them on how to advocate for their child. All services provided are confidential, and Special Education Guru will never communicate with your school team without your prior written consent.

Do you provide student evaluations and psychological services?

Yes. One of our advantages is that Dr. Hoke is a licensed psychologist. However, Dr. Hoke may not be able to provide evaluations and psychological services in every state. Simply contact us, and we will be able to discuss how we may be able to help or provide you with a referral to a licensed psychologist or therapist after we understand your child's needs.

What is a Section 504 Plan?

To receive the special protections offered under Section 504, a student must be shown to:

  1. have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  2. have a record of such an impairment, or
  3. be regarded as having such an impairment.
  4. Special Education Guru can help you determine what accommodations your child needs through section 504 and guide you towards obtaining these services for your student

For more information, visit https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/504-plan/what-is-a-504-plan.

What is an IEP (Individualized Education Program)? 

An "Individualized Education Program" (IEP) is a custom-written document created on behalf of a child with a disability who is attending public school. This document is created, examined, and updated in accordance with current laws and regulations. An IEP is developed through a collaborative endeavor utilizing assessment data, observation data, parent and teacher input and is reviewed at least once a year. For a child to be eligible to receive an IEP, your child needs to be eligible for Special Education.

What types of students are eligible for an IEP?

In order for a child to be qualified to participate in Special Education programs and have an IEP designed, a child must have at least one of the following 14 handicaps.  

  • Autism
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impaired
  • Specific Learning Disability
  •  Speech or Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment
  • Developmental Disability (for children aged 3 - 9)

To begin, simply call Special Education Guru at 1-847-778-9415, or email directly at laurie@specialeducationguru.com to schedule an introductory meeting (by phone, video chat, or in-person) to discuss your child’s special circumstances.