Robin Petty, LMSW
Education & Disability Advocate
As an Advocate, I assist children and adults with special needs and their families in a multitude of ways. After working for ten years at the education and disability law firm Cirkiel & Associates, I've become very familiar with the laws affecting people with disabilities and I'm prepared to help people navigate through complex systems to get the needed services to which they are entitled.
When it comes to Special Ed under IDEA or Section 504 services, I know what the laws require schools to do to support students with disabilities. In 99% of cases, parents are the best experts when it comes to their children. If their voice is drowned out of the conversation, their child's education will suffer. One my most important tasks as an advocate is to give voice to the concerns & wishes of parents so they can be meaningful participants in the IEP or 504 Plan development process.
I can help parents prepare for and attend ARD/504 meetings by explaining their rights, going over reports and assessments, and reviewing any documents prior to signing. I am committed to communicating clearly and civilly and believe that non-confrontational approaches will, in the end, serve the student best. However, I am prepared to do what is necessary when that doesn't work.
Another advocacy tool in my kit is the ability to write letters and requests to Special Ed personnel, school district administrators, state & local boards of education, and state or federal agencies. Plus, I can make recommendations for how and when to file different complaints & grievances or go to due process. And if it comes to filing a due process complaint, I have working relationships with several Special Education attorneys in the area.
I also have extensive experience assisting people with social security claims, whether the application is for a child through Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") or through Social Security Disability Insurance ("SSDI") for a disabled adult who can no longer work. I know how to submit an application that has the best chance of success.
Additionally, I understand the ins & outs of the Guardianship process. For children with significant disabilities who are age 18 or older, I partner with Houston-based attorneys like Holly Terrell to offer efficient and affordable paths to getting appointed as guardian of a loved one. On the other hand, I'm able to set up less-restrictive & more affordable alternatives to guardianships – such as Supported Decision-Making Agreements – in cases where a full guardianship is not necessary.