• St. John’s University School of Law, Jamaica, New York
(Juris Doctor Degree, Cum Laude, June 2003)
• University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN
(B.B.A., Cum Laude, May 1999)
• New York (2004), SDNY (2005) and EDNY (2005)
• Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA)
• Nassau County Bar Association
• New York Bar Association
• Notre Dame Club of Long Island
About Me and Why I Started The Firm
My personal experience with special education law
My passion for advocating for the educational rights of children with disabilities began with my own child. As a parent of a child with special needs, I have navigated the complex world of special education. Through my own experience, I realized that parents need someone who can help them understand their child’s legal rights, and ensure that they receive the educational opportunities they deserve. I feel extremely lucky to be able to use my knowledge of special education law to help other families obtain the appropriate programs and related services for their children.
Parents are the best advocates
Knowledge is power in the realm of special education law. As the parent, you are your child’s best advocate. I will help empower you so that you know your child’s rights and can participate in the decisions at your child’s Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) or Committee on Special Education (CSE) meetings. Together, we can advocate for the special education that your child is entitled to under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Prior to starting this firm, I was a commercial litigator at a premier, mid-sized law firm in New York City for seven years. I was involved in all aspects of litigating complex commercial cases in federal and state court, as well as various arbitration forums. Now I use these litigation skills for a much more rewarding cause, ensuring that children with disabilities are not denied a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
Special education law for private placements
I have also worked as a legal consultant for a private special education school on Long Island. This experience helped me fully understand the benefits of seeking a private placement, in an approved or independent special education school, when your school district cannot provide for your child’s unique needs. Special education law governing private placements and tuition reimbursement is complex but my firm can provide you with the guidance you need to pursue this option.
The influence of my parents as educators
My parents, both educators on Long Island for over thirty years, taught me that a quality education is the gateway to the future. The time that our children with disabilities spend in school is crucial for preparing them for success; we must be sure they are receiving the appropriate special education and related services that meet their unique needs.
My parents have been invaluable resources in helping me understand the nuances of special education. My mother taught one of the first co-taught classes on Long Island. My father, with a Doctorate in Special Education, was a teacher, a principal and an Interim Director of Special Education Services on Long Island and was also an Associate Professor of Graduate Special Education. My parents have provided me valuable insight as to the dynamics of special education and the differing points of view of school districts on Long Island.
Kudos to Colleen
Colleen was instrumental in my journey! I was not prepared to navigate through the CPSE process and I am so grateful she was there to help me. I honestly felt like she cared about my child’s future as much as I did. Her expertise in the field was outweighed only by her compassion and personal experience. I would highly recommend her!
Colleen Parker takes the time to get to know each of her clients, and to understand the individual, family, and educational dynamics involved. She explains issues clearly, and advises clients as to the best course of action to create a positive and productive relationship with the school system. My son was being pigeon-holed into a category that didn’t aptly provide the services he needed; Colleen was able to ensure that his individual needs were appropriately met, and now he loves being in school.
Mrs. Parker is an outstanding advocate. Her personal experience, having a child with a severe motor speech disorder, enables her to provide guidance to others on speech therapy as it relates to evaluations, goals and treatment. Mrs. Parker truly understands special education both from a professional and personal perspective which stands her apart from the crowd.
Colleen supports the use of evidence based- instruction for children with special needs. She understands the importance of using these strategies to create effective IEP goals. Consulting with Colleen prior to your CSE meeting or having her attend the meeting will help you to navigate through the entire IEP process.
Physical Therapy can play an integral role in assuring that children with special needs reach their maximal functional potential and independence in a least restrictive environment. Colleen understands how impairments in balance, coordination, strength, endurance, motor planning, posture, and neuromuscular control impact a child’s ability to learn. She can work in collaboration with you to determine if Physical Therapy is a necessary resource for your child to optimally participate in school and safely negotiate the school environment as independently as possible.