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Helping families navigate the special education process for over a decade.

Dr. Education Mom

Philene Harte, PhD

Dr. Harte has been working with children with special needs and their families for 24 years. 

After completing a Masters Degree is Teaching and Learning specializing in Students with Disabities and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Harte found herself navigating the process of special education advocacy on behalf of her own child.  Dr. Harte became a member of COPAA (Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates) and began helping other families get impressive results for their loved ones. 

Dr. Harte has represented families, schools and school districts in Florida, New York, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and California.

You can never be over prepared for an IEP meeting!  Contact us today to see how we can help you! 

What is a Special Education Advocate?

Some families find navigating the network of federal, state, and local special education laws to be confusing and overwhelming. Emotions also tend to run high during IEP meetings. Fortunately, Dr. Education Mom is able to help families navigate these meetings and processes. 

Dr. Harte is an experienced advocate providing education advocacy for children of all ages and disabilities across the country for more than 10 years. 

IEPs, 504 Plans, Gifted Testing & More!


Who We Help


A child who is academically gifted may qualify for an Education Plan (EP) through the school district.  If they have  a medical diagnosis interfering with their educational excellence, they may qualify for an IndividualIzed Education Plan (IEP) in addition to their EP.


In our experience, many students with ADD/ADHD receive 504 plans when an IEP can provide more services and help maximize their potential. We specialize in writing IEP’s for ADHD and EBD. 


Many students suffer academically due to these diagnoses because no one has advocated for them to have an IEP for Specific Learning Disabilities.   


Generally, students with Autism have IEPs addressing academic issues that may not be meting all of the child’s needs.  More than academics, the IEP can address a specific behavior plan created just for the student, as well a social skills, off-task attention issues, and extra adult help in the classroom. The list of available services is limitless.


No matter a child’s disability, no matter how common or how rare, the law applies to each child equally and they have a right to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). 

Dr. Education Mom is here to help you with education consulting as your Special Education Advocate.  Contact us today for your consultation! 

Individualized Assistance

Does your child need an IEP but you don’t know who to talk to or how to get a meeting to havevine made? 

Does your child require extra extra help in the classroom, such as having directions read to them or being allowed to give verbal answers on exams?

Is your child getting in trouble in school because they find themselves bored?

Is your child not challenged enough by the work they are receiving? 

Is you child being bullied and is it affecting their education?

If any of this sounds familiar, Dr. Education Mom is here to help! 

Why Hire an Advocate?


Advocates can offer families even more than in-depth knowledge about the IEP process and an extra set of eyes and ears. Your advocate can make recommendations for Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) evaluators, connect you to a network of advocates, create strategies for your child, and provide information about your child’s school district.


Because the stakes are so high, it is very difficult for parents of children with special educational needs to advocate calmly and objectively for the educational and related services, their children need. Nevertheless, calmness, objectivity, and patience are the most important tools in a complex and often-frustrating process. 

This is one of the many ways Special Education Advocates help families.  One of the primary contexts for special education advocacy is during an eligibility determination or IEP meeting. This is a key place for parents to work with the school to ensure that their child receives appropriate services. 

Your child needs an IEP (Individualized Education Program) or Section 504 accommodation plan.

Your child has an IEP (or 504) in place, but requires more, or different, specialized instruction, related services or accommodations to access, and make progress in, learning.

Your child is struggling: 

Academically (i.e. not performing to the level he/she is capable of, is failing, or has shown regression)

Emotionally (i.e. overwhelmed by school work to the point they can’t access learning, anxious, depressed)

Socially (i.e. unable to make and/or maintain peer relationships).  To qualify for an IEP, a child need not be getting bad grades and failing. 

Your attempts to communicate and meet with the school district are not successful.

IEP meetings have an “us vs. them” feeling and you do not feel like an equal part of the team.

You have hired independent evaluators and clinicians to work with your child and need help effectively presenting their feedback to the school team.

Your child may be getting “good” (perhaps modified) grades on their report card, but on standardized tests meant to measure grade-level skills (i.e. FCAT) he or she is failing or not meeting standards.

You need a person to guide you through the confusing special education process.

You require an advocate who is pro-active, able to analyze the data (records, reports, IEP’s) and present it effectively to obtain desired results.

You feel having a professional actively supporting you and your child at team meetings and through the special education process would be beneficial.

What to Expect from Your Advocate


  • We help you prepare for meetings, including proposing goals and objectives, reviewing supportive evidence and materials, helping put concerns and requests in writing, and providing strategies for the meeting.

  • We review all education documents, including student files, assessment reports, IEPs, Gifted EPs and Section 504 Plans. 

  • We assist you with drafting letters and written requests or complaints to the school, district, or the State Department of Education.  


  • We inform you of your rights and suggest appropriate special education services and programs to meet your student’s individual needs. 

  • We explain the meaning of assessments and reports with regard to your child’s educational needs. 


  • We accompany you to IEP, Gifted EP,  Section 504 Plan meetings and provide advice and assistance as needed throughout the special education process. 

  • We review IEP, Gifted EP, and Section 504 Plan documents and advise you before you sign them. 

  • We help you get your concerns heard by the district and help you resolve a dispute. 

  • As needed, we address the strength of your case and make recommendations on how to proceed including referals  to a special education attorney, should you believe that you are ready to take your case to due process or file a complaint. 

  • We empower, inform, guide and educate parents and students to strengthen your own advocacy skills.