The Education Center in Torrance, CA Circa 2003 -2013


 

For a number of years this was the website for the Education Center in Torrance, CA. 
Content is from the site's 2003 - 2013 archived pages.

Education Center - Educational Therapy

Phone: 310-891-1130
Fax: 310-891-1130
Education Center
25200 Crenshaw Blvd., Ste. 203
Torrance,  CA  90505
USA

 

Dedicated to insuring that every child is a success!

Education and Advocacy Services provides children with a safe and motivating place to learn, where their individual needs can be met through the support of caring adults and the use of the latest technology.  We help parents understand their children's difficulties and provide appropriate strategies to respond to those challenges.

Education Center provides a variety of services including Special Education Advocacy, Educational Therapy, and Tutoring.  Carol Behrens, MA, Director of the Education Center has 17 years experience working with families with special needs children.  She has extensive knowledge of special education law, psychology, learning disabilities, emotional disorders, educational assessments and teaching methodologies.

Education Center provides children with a safe and motivating place to learn, where their individual needs can be met through the support of caring adults and the use of the latest variety of educational methodologies.  We help parents understand their children's difficulties and provide appropriate strategies to respond to those challenges.  The Educational Therapist and child work to strengthen specific areas of weakness in both academics and processing.  In addition, we offer math and science tutoring.

Some very intelligent students do not perform up to their full potential because of learning disabilities, social or emotional problems, language problems, ADHD, or lack of confidence or self-esteem and so on.  These students can be helped by our services.

Parents need to know that children with special needs have educational rights afforded to them by law which provide appropriate services and placement to help them become more successful at school and thus in life.  In our experience as Special Education Advocates, we have found that most parents and even teachers are unaware of the services that are available.  If children continue to struggle in school because their needs have not been met, their self-esteem is negatively affected, and they fall behind in their studies until their problems begin to affect all aspects of their lives.

All children in the United States have the right to receive a free and appropriate education.  An Individualized Education Program (IEP) describes the educational program that has been designed to meet that child's unique needs.  Each child who receives special education and related services must have an IEP.  Each IEP must be designed for one student and must be a truly individualized document.  The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel and students (when age appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the cornerstone of an appropriate education for each child with a disability.

 

WHICH CHILDREN MIGHT NEED OUR SERVICES?

Some students that are very intelligent do not perform up to their full potential because of learning disabilities, social or emotional problems, language problems, or lack of confidence or self-esteem.  These students can be helped by our services.

WHAT SERVICES DO WE PROVIDE?

  • Educational Therapy
  • Homework Club
  • Advocacy
  • Social Skills Groups
  • ADHD Coaching
  • Math & Science Tutoring
  • Parent Training Groups

ABOUT US

Established in 1998, the Education Center has helped 900 students reach their educational goals.  Some students that are very intelligent do not perform up to their full potential because of learning disabilities, social or emotional problems, language problems, or lack of confidence or self-esteem.  These students can be helped by our services.  We pride ourselves on knowing that we offer the highest quality services, and we dedicate ourselves to providing the best possible services we can for each child we serve.  Our staff is very well trained and continues to receive education in their areas of expertise.  Each client is served with respect, understanding, confidentiality and in a timely manner.  We offer culturally and educationally appropriate services.  We admit our limitations and make referrals when needed.

Educational Therapy:

Educational Therapy is specialized instruction tailored to meet the needs of the individual student.  Each child's program is designed to meet that child's individual needs.  Various methods are used to optimize the student’s strong positive points while strengthening weaknesses.  Many children need to have concepts broken down and taught in a methodically structured and organized sequential approach.  Educational Therapy may also help the student improve processing skills thereby making it easier to learn.

Special Education Advocacy:

Special Education Advocacy helps you to secure needed individualized services through the school district.  The Advocate will make recommendations, present options and attend IEP or 504 meetings with you.  Many children qualify for accommodations and modifications in the regular classroom that can make a world of difference in that child’s school experiences.  Some children will qualify for extra services offered through the school district.  An Advocate can provide the legal information about special education laws and an understanding of the system.  The Advocate will review your case and give you an idea of what you might expect or may ask for from the school district. 

Tutoring:

Tutoring is available in the following areas:

  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Elementary/middle school core subjects

Education Center provides help for your child in school

Learn:

  • You and your child's rights regarding education
  • How to get started in the process
  • What an IEP and a 504 are
  • What services are available at the public school to help your child
  • How to get the services your child needs

We will:

  • Help secure the services your child needs at school
  • Generate letters on your behalf
  • Support you through the process
  • Review and explain paperwork
  • Attend meetings with you
  • Protect you and your child against misinformation

Educational Therapy

  • Provide the specific instruction that schools and tutors cannot
  • Your child will strengthen specific areas of weakness in both academics and processing by learning skills and strategies taught with proven methodologies, experience, and understanding. 
  • Because of the individualized and customized approach, your child will make more progress in a much shorter time than he or she would ever be able to attain in a classroom.

Math and Science Tutoring

  • Make the most complex and difficult math and science concepts easily understood
  • Knowledge and experience make this tutor the best you will ever find.  Middle school, high school and college students benefit from expert instruction.
  • Some subjects taught are algebra, geometry, trigonometry, biology, chemistry, and physics.

 



 

PRICING for Services Provided

Special Education Advocacy

  • A $300 retainer fee will be applied to work completed.
  • The price for Special Education Advocacy is $135 per hour.  this charge is applied on 15 minute increments for meetings, paperwork and phone calls.
  • If we need to travel over 30 minutes on a case (such as to attend a meeting at a school), an additional $50 per hour will be charged for travel time. 
  • Fees may be paid at the time of service, or a statement will be sent out at the end of the month.

Educational Therapy

  • The price for Educational Therapy is $80 per hour. 
  • Fees may be paid at the time of service, or a statement will be sent out at the end of the month.

Math & Science Tutoring 

  • The price for Math & Science Tutoring is $80 per hour. 
  • Fees may be paid at the time of service, or a statement will be sent out at the end of the month.

Refund Policy

  • If a client has a dispute with the Education Center, we encourage that client to discuss it with the owner, Carol Behrens. 
  • Clients may discontinue use of our services at any time, although we expect that any outstanding bills be paid when due.

 



 

Section 504 Plan and an Individual Education Plan (IEP) What's the difference?

Both a Section 504 Plan and an Individual Education Plan (IEP) offer the following:

  • Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
  • Assessments in all areas of suspected need
  • Educational Program
  • Accommodations
  • Related services
  • Behavior support plans
  • Procedural safeguards
  • Impartial hearing

 

Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

As defined by the US Department of Education and Office for Civil Rights

 

An appropriate education may comprise education in regular classes, education in regular classes with the use of related aids and services, or special education and related services in separate classrooms for all or portions of the school day. Special education may include specially designed instruction in classrooms, at home, or in private or public institutions, and may be accompanied by related services such as speech therapy, occupational and physical therapy, psychological counseling, and medical diagnostic services necessary to the child’s education.

An appropriate education will include:

  • education services designed to meet the individual education needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met;
  • the education of each student with a disability with nondisabled students, to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the student with a disability;
  • evaluation and placement procedures established to guard against misclassification or inappropriate placement of students, and a periodic reevaluation of students who have been provided special education or related services; and
  • establishment of due process procedures that enable parents and guardians to:
    • receive required notices;
    • review their child’s records; and
    • challenge identification, evaluation and placement decisions.

Due process procedures must also provide for an impartial hearing with the opportunity for participation by parents and representation by counsel, and a review procedure.

One way to ensure that programs meet individual needs is through the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each student with a disability. IEPs are required for students participating in the special education programs of recipients of funding under the IDEA.

 

Two important differences between the 504 and the IEP

1. The first difference is in the details of the laws.

 

504

IEP

The 504 plan offers all children with disabilities equal access to an education.  In some cases this may include special education services, but for a child in a wheelchair it may mean a ramp or elevator to access the classroom. 

  • The IEP is only for children who require special education services.
  • The individualized program must meet each child’s unique needs.
  • It must provide educational benefit.

The 504 is documented in a written plan.

The IEP documents contain very specific language and parts such as goals and objectives that are not included in the 504.

Specific timelines for the 504 do not exist.

Timelines for an IEP are very specific and important. 

There are no requirements stating who must attend the 504 plan meeting.

A minimum number of IEP participants and who they are, such as administrator, general education teacher, and special education teacher, are stipulated.

Reports of noncompliance and the request for a hearing are made to the Office for Civil Rights.

Reports of noncompliance and the request for due process are made to the State’s Department of Education.

The 504 does not offer as many specific procedural safeguards as the IEP.

IEP specific procedural safeguards include, but are not limited to:

  • the right to request an independent assessment at public expense
  • the student may “stay put” until a dispute is resolved

2. The second difference is based on my experience and opinion.  Districts don’t follow the laws.  Both parents and school personnel aren’t familiar with the laws so compliance is a major concern.  Parents believe the district personnel as the experts, and school staff treats parents as incapable of understanding the process.

 

504

IEP

Most of the time assessments are not performed for 504 plans.  For example, if a child has been diagnosed with ADHD, the school will ask for the doctor’s written diagnosis and upon receipt, will offer accommodations with a 504 plan.

While assessments may be performed within the timelines for an IEP, if a child has a diagnosis of ADHD, the school will ask the parent to prove it with the doctor’s written diagnosis.  This is a problem for two reasons:

  1. Nowhere does the law say that a child must have a diagnosis of ADHD in order to qualify for an IEP.  In fact it says, “suspected or diagnosed.”
  2. Since the school must provide FAPE, and it costs money to see a doctor, if the school wants a diagnosis, it would have to pay for the doctor’s visit.

Often the schools will not provide related services, program placement, behavior support plans, etc. when the student does not qualify for an IEP, although the law clearly states that these services may constitute FAPE under a section 504 plan.

Some schools still tell parents that a child cannot have an IEP unless he or she is 2 years behind academically, which is not true.  Other schools are stuck on the test scores.  No matter what the disability is, if there isn’t a 22 point discrepancy between the student’s cognitive ability and achievement scores, the student won’t be qualified.  Eligibility is never based on assessments scores alone and certainly not on a 22 point discrepancy.  Even a child with straight A’s in a gifted program could qualify for an IEP.

Most of the time districts do not provide procedural safeguards and if they do, the safeguards are deficient and/or contain misinformation.

 

Section 504 plans and the school staff who write them usually use a check-off list of available accommodations.  The staff then checks off a few which may or may not be relevant to the student’s needs, but they are on the list and simple to implement.  If the child needs something different, the school may respond, “We can’t do that,” which would not necessarily be true.

IEP’s are not written to meet the child’s unique needs. 

  • Goals are taken from a computer drop-down menu based on state standards and have very little or nothing to do with the child’s needs. 
  • Accommodations are written based on teachers’ convenience and not the student’s needs.
  • State testing is changed to an easier form so that the student’s scores will not negatively impact the school’s and district’s performance.

 



 

 

Answers to questions about a Special Education Advocate 

1.  What is a Special Education Advocate?

An Advocate is a person who speaks or writes in support of, on behalf of, or in defense of another person or cause.  A Special Education Advocate does all of this for parents with children with exceptional needs.  An Advocate has knowledge and expertise concerning special education and its applicable federal and state laws and works within the bounds of these laws.  A Special Education Advocate is a representative that informs parents of their educational rights and assists families in negotiating and resolving disputes with the school district.  This helps to secure the best possible educational program and appropriate educational services for children with special needs.

A Special Education Advocate is not an attorney.  Special Education Advocates cannot practice law or provide legal advice as an attorney.  If your case goes to mediation or due process, Education Center recommends utilizing the services of an attorney at that time and will recommend one, if needed.

 

2.  What does a Special Education Advocate do?

  • The Special Education Advocate's primary responsibility is to represent the best interests of the student in the educational process. 
  • A good Special Education Advocate is familiar with the laws and can inform parents of their rights and suggest appropriate special education services and programs to meet the student's individual needs.  If need be, she will research a specific legal issue that is central to your case or your Individualized Education Program (IEP).
  • A knowledgeable Special Education Advocate is familiar enough with assessments and reports that she can articulate their meaning to parents and explain them with regard to the child's educational needs.
  • The Special Education Advocate will help you prepare for the IEP program meeting - including propose goals and objectives, review supportive evidence and materials, help put concerns and requests in writing, and provide strategies for the IEP meeting.
  • Before an IEP, the Special Education Advocate will review all special education and section 504 documents, including student files, assessment reports, IEPs and Section 504 Plans. 
  • The Special Education Advocate will accompany parents to IEP, Section 504, and other school meetings and provide advice and assistance as needed throughout the IEP process.
  • Then, the Special Education Advocate will review IEP documents before you sign them.
  • Additionally, the Special Education Advocate will draft letters and written requests to school and district personnel and draft complaints to school districts and the State Department of Education.
  • The Special Education Advocate will empower, inform, guide and educate parents/guardians and students to strengthen their own advocacy skills.
  • Often times a Special Education Advocate can help you get your concerns heard by the district and help you resolve a dispute.
  • When you believe that you are ready to take your case to due process or file a complaint, the Special Education Advocate will assess the strength of your case and make recommendations on how to proceed and refer you to a special education attorney, if needed.

With an extensive familiarity with local professionals, a Special Education Advocate can refer parents to appropriate professionals for additional assistance and services.

 

3.  How does a parent get started with a Special Education Advocate?

Since each child's case is unique, the process will be also.  The following is generally how the Special Education Advocate would work with the parents.

  1. When the parents make the initial call to the Education Center, they provide basic information about the case and receive information about our Special Education Advocate services.
  2. Parents then provide the Special Education Advocate copies of all relevant documentation which may include psycho-educational reports, previous IEP documents, report cards, letters from the school concerning the child, etc.
  3. The Special Education Advocate reviews all of the documents noting any areas of concern such as procedural errors, contradictions, inappropriate goals and objectives, need for additional services, and more.
  4. Then, the intake appointment takes about one hour.  During this time parents present their concerns and educational rights are explained and recommendations are made.
  5. Next, we take the necessary steps to present the case at an IEP meeting at the school.
  6. Preparation for the IEP meeting is one of the most important parts. The Special Education Advocate may help parents generate a document that explains the parents' concerns and requests for services.
  7. The Special Education Advocate attends the IEP meeting (or 504 or other meetings) with the parent. At the meeting, the Special Education Advocate's role is to inform, protect and negotiate.
  8. Because IEP meetings take place at least once a year, and because often times more complicated issues are not resolved at a single meeting, the Special Education Advocate may repeat the process a number of times.
  9. Sometimes there is a disagreement between the school district and the parents concerning the needs of the child. The Special Education Advocate will attempt to help parents solve the disagreement before taking the case to due process.  If she is not successful, the parents have the right to take the case to mediation or due process. For this part of the case, Education Center suggests and will refer your case to be handled by an attorney.
  10. The Special Education Advocate may provide names of attorneys that specialize in this type of law and may provide input regarding the case to the attorney.

You may choose to have a Special Education Advocate do everything from beginning to end or only handle certain tasks.

4.  Who Do Special Education Advocates help?

Special Education Advocates help families of children with any learning concerns.  Some children may have already been identified as eligible for special education services or a 504 plan.  Other children may be struggling at school and parents will want to know what they can do about it.

Some specific issues that may affect a student's learning are:

  • Learning disabilities and processing disorders affecting math, reading, or writing
  • Speech and language deficits
  • Autistic spectrum, PDD, Asperger's, Tourette's Syndrome, seizure disorders
  • Emotional disorders and behavioral issues including ADHD, Mood Disorders, and more
  • Physical disabilities
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Mental Retardation
  • Visual or hearing impairment

 



 

Education Center Offers Services in Two California Counties:

  • South Los Angeles County
  • North Orange County

Phone: 310-848-4399 

Mailing Address:           

Michiko Lee
Innovative Education Solutions
2110 Artesia Blvd., B105
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
USA 

Education Center Works with Families in the Following Districts in Los Angeles County:

  • ABC Unified School District
  • Bellflower Unified School District
  • Compton Unified School District
  • Culver City Unified School District
  • Downey Unified School District
  • El Segundo Unified School District
  • Hawthorne School District
  • Hermosa Beach City School District
  • Inglewood Unified School District
  • Lawndale School District
  • Lennox School District
  • Long Beach Unified School District
  • Los Angeles County Office of Education
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Lynwood Unified School District
  • Manhattan Beach Unified School District
  • Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District
  • Paramount Unified School District
  • Redondo Beach Unified School District
  • Torrance Unified School District
  • Wiseburn School District

 

Education Center Works with Families in the Following Districts in Orange County:

  • Buena Park School District
  • Cypress School District
  • Fountain Valley School District
  • Fullerton Joint Union High School District
  • Fullerton School District
  • Garden Grove Unified School District
  • Huntington Beach City School District
  • Huntington Beach Union High School District
  • Los Alamitos Unified School District
  • Ocean View School District
  • Orange Unified School District
  • Santa Ana Unified School District
  • Westminster School District

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