Cohen, Dowd & Madsen, LLC

Cohen, Dowd & Madsen, LLC

Cohen, Dowd & Madsen: Special Education Advocacy and Coaching
PO Box 422, Vienna, VA 22183

Cohen, Dowd & Madsen: Special Education Advocacy and Coaching is a consulting firm focused on serving the needs of parents of special education students who attend public and private schools, and the needs of special education students educated in inclusive settings from elementary school through college. Experienced professionals offer a team approach to educational advocacy and provide a balanced quality of service for parents and students alike. CDM aims to offer comprehensive consulting services. CDM will focus on providing personal and specialized services to meet each client’s specific needs and facilitating positive home/school communications

Biographies

Maxine Cohen, M.Ed.: Advocate/Coach

31 years in special education: preschool through high school
Experience with students in the following categories: ADHD; LD; ED; Autism Spectrum Disorders; Cognitive Disabilities; Intellectual Challenges
High School and Middle School DepartmentnChairperson – 17 years
Extensive experience with evaluation, eligibility, mediation, and the IEP process
Professional Memberships: CHADD, CEC, and LDA
C.A.G.S. – Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies: Consulting Specialist – Lesley College of Cambridge, Massachusetts
M.Ed. Special Education – University ofbMassachusetts
B.A. Psychology – Boston University

Kathy Dowd, M.Ed.: Advocate/Coach

32 years in special education; preschool through high school
Experience with students in the following categories: ADHD; LD; ED; Autism Spectrum Disorders; Cognitive Disabilities; Traumatic Brain Injury; and Intellectual Challenges
Extensive experience with case management, mediation, and the IEP process
Special Education teacher for City of Manassas
Educational Diagnostician for City of Manassas
Special Education teacher in Fairfax County
Lecturer – Trinity University
Lecturer – Catholic University of America
Lecturer – University of Virginia
M.Ed. Cognitive Psychology: Catholic University of America
B.S. Education of Exceptional Children: The Pennsylvania State University

Margaret Madsen, M.Ed. Coach

Math Tutor – preschool through high school
Math Teacher – Orange County Public Schools
Bookkeeper – Private Law Firm
AT&T Software Consultant
M.Ed. Mathematics Education – University of Virginia
B.S. Mathematics – University of Virginia

The Company Cohen, Dowd & Madsen (CDM) is a team of educational consultants. Each consultant brings expertise in the areas of: special education advocacy, the IEP process, educational coaching, and training.

(CDM) offers a list of services from which clients may choose, depending on their particular needs. This includes: representation of families within the school setting; reviewing and consulting in the IEP process; providing additional resources for obtaining necessary services through the public schools, facilitating positive home/school relationships, and executive coaching and training for special education students.

(CDM) will serve Northern Virginia. It is an established Virginia based LLC with three principal partners Ms. Maxine Cohen, Ms. Kathy Dowd, and Ms. Margaret Madsen have over 66 years of combined experience in the area of special education and mainstream education at all educational levels.
Keys to Success
CDM’s keys to success include:

Professionals with a broad range of specialty areas that complement each other.
A high level of experience in these specialty areas.
A team approach on most consulting projects.

Service Description
CDM offers a list of services for parents to choose from, depending on their particular needs. The goal of the service is to establish a collaborative working relationship between the client and the schools and allow for the seamless transitioning of students from one educational level to the next.

No actions will be attempted or taken without the permission and agreement of the client. All information will remain confidential. All information pertinent to each case will be reviewed by at least two partners. Partners will: attend meetings; consult with school personnel; conduct observations; participate in discussions with school personnel; and, attend IEP meetings.

Advocacy services:

Initial review of records
Articulate the meaning of testing and test reports to parents and explain them with regard to the child’s educational needs
Provide written and verbal assessment of educational records and present educational standing for student in question
Inform parents of their rights and suggesting appropriate special education services and programs to meet the student’s individual needs
Determine if current placement is appropriate according to federal/state regulations Assist in preparation for the IEP program meeting – including: proposing goals and objectives, reviewing supportive evidence and materials, putting concerns and requests in writing, and providing pointers about the IEP meeting
Review special education and section 504 documents, including student files, evaluation reports, IEPs and Section 504 Plans
Accompany parents to IEP, Section 504, and other school meetings and providing advice and assistance as needed throughout the IEP process
Review IEP documents before they are signed
Represent student’s best interests and educational needs
Draft letters and written requests to school and district personnel and drafting complaints to school districts and the State Department of Education
Empower, inform, guide, and educate parents/guardians and students to strengthen their own advocacy skills
Facilitate effective communication between school and home
Make recommendations on how to proceed in the case of an appeal and referring clients to appropriate special education attorney

With an extensive familiarity with local professionals, a Special Education Advocate can refer parents to appropriate professionals for additional services. Since each child’s case is unique, the process will be determined on an individual case basis. The following is generally how an advocate would work with the parents.

Provide basic information about the case and receive information about our Special Education Advocate services.
Parents will 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.
Review all of the documents noting any areas of concern such as procedural errors, contradictions, inappropriate goals and objectives, need for additional services, and more.
Schedule an intake appointment (one hour). During this time parents present their concerns and educational rights are explained and recommendations are made.
Present contract for services to client
Explain services as they appear on the contract
Point out exclusions, limits, and failure to pay provisions Indicate contract termination specifics
Schedule an initial consultation (approx. one hour). During this time all data will be reviewed with client and suggestions will be made concerning strategies for implementing the best educational plan.
Follow up services would include all interactions with the schools and consultations with parents following the initial meeting.

Special Education Coaching

Provide coaching for special education students to encourage development of basic study and organizational skills
Subject matter tutoring
Groups/Individual work for social skills training
Work with student’s teachers or college special education providers to help ensure appropriate programming
Behavioral and educational support for families
Homework support for students
Work with local and state agencies to help prepare special needs clients with necessary support
CDC is flexible, working with its clients in the fashion preferred by the client, be it on-site, remotely, or a combination of both. This allows for all parties involved to be in sync in terms of understanding the interconnections of all functional areas of the public school special education system.

http://www.makingeducationspecial.com
Maxine Cohen: 703-973-5510, Kathy Dowd: 571-283-9400 or 703-204-4626

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Cohen, Dowd & Madsen, LLC