What families are saying

Ani Ross Grubb

Part-time faculty at Carroll School of Management, Boston College

March 6, 2018, Ani was a client of Laurel’s

We hired Laurel when we were dealing with our former school district, one that was notorious for being difficult and obstructive. They lived up to their reputation, and we were SO thankful to have Laurel in our corner. She is very, very familiar with that district, and was able to guide us in terms of our responses, and help us strategize. She knows all the players – school district folks, mediators, lawyers, hearing officers, and helped us navigate a very contentious process to get us results that we were satisfied with. Laurel always keeps the well-being of children first in her mind, and helps parents assert their rights without making enemies of school district personnel that they will likely be dealing with for years (unless you move, like we did!). When other parents are looking for a recommendation for an advocate, Laurel is always the person I recommend.


Laurel has handled a very complicated situation with many moving parts and an incredibly stubborn district for us with finesse. She has represented our interests consistently and conscientiously at countless meetings, from pre-IEP meetings to BSEA mediations, and we have been thankful to have her child-centric voice of reason on our side. Additionally, Laurel has been incredibly patient and helpful with our learning to navigate unfamiliar systems and has helped us assemble the kind of expert team you know she’d trust with her own children (because often she does!). We are so grateful for all her help and care!

-Amanda, Medford

I knew Laurel long before she was a professional educational advocate. I had been teaching children with moderate special needs for 13 years when my son was diagnosed with multiple disabilities and Laurel and I were introduced at a parent gathering at our Early Intervention Program. We became fast friends and supported each other as best we could through the world of special education. I was well versed as a teacher, but as a parent, I had a lot to learn. Laurel had an older child with multiple needs and had been going to trainings and conferences for several years, so she gave me information I had no idea existed. I learned what it was like to be on the other side of the table at meetings.

By the time Laurel had gone back to school and opened her practice, I was asking her opinion on school matters and sharing details of my son’s IEP. In 2012, despite having been a special education teacher for 24 years, I was unable to get the services my son required in school. I hired Laurel as my advocate and even though she had known us all that time, she did a full record review and narrowed down the key issues we had and essential needs that had to be fulfilled. Advocacy is a full time and very specialized job. Even if you understand the system, it is necessary to have someone that can look at the situation with an objective eye.
Laurel has a good working relationship with my district. Our meetings are productive and respectful. My children, who are both of age to come to their meetings, speak to Laurel and she helps them advocate for themselves. Laurel has been easy to schedule with and easy to reach as well as highly professional in her work.

-Wanda Finigian McLaren, Wilmington 3/4/18

I called Laurel and asked for help short notice for my son’s IEP meeting for his Kindergarten Transition after being highly recommended to her by another mom/client. My son has DS and was receiving little to no services and regressing severely. Laurel listened to my concerns and without question took our fight on. After multiple IEP meetings and evaluations and appointments Laurel achieved a complete turnaround in our son’s services. While they could still always be better it still feels like we won the lottery with the IEP she boldly fought for and that he badly needed. Our son is thriving and happy this year and finally making progress. Without Laurel we’d be lost and our son would be suffering still. I’m so grateful we were sent her way and she helped us like she did. I call her our IEP pit bull with lipstick. Easiest and best decision we’ve made thus far!

-Christy and Ian, Chelmsford March 2018

Laurel Collins is an extremely dedicated and knowledgeable educational advocate. My husband and I were fortunate enough to find Laurel within a week of a big IEP meeting. Laurel did not hesitate to immediately dive right in and help us. She reviewed all of our daughters evaluations and quickly came up with a successful strategy to get our daughter what she deserved. We ended up getting an appropriate and strong program our daughter, and this would not have been possible without Laurel. She is compassionate and collaborative and is an expert in communicating with school systems. Words can not describe how grateful my husband and I are to have Laurel Collins as our educational advocate. We highly recommend Laurel to anyone in search of an advocate for their child.

-Lisa S., February 2016

Our autistic son had a very traumatic transition to high school. Our efforts to navigate the frustrating legal tangle of special education regulations were going in circles. Laurel Collins assessed the situation we were in and swiftly charted a path to get our son placed in a school where he is getting specialized instructions, related services and accommodations to access and make progress in learning.

Laurel has a wonderful rapport with people. Her ability to connect with critical offices and administrators was instrumental in getting the job done. She has excellent written and verbal communication skills, is extremely organized, and determined.

Throughout our interactions with her, we felt that Laurel’s mission and philosophy are influenced by the fact that she is a parent of children with special needs.  We recommend Laurel without reservation.

Al M.  & Nora S.

Service Category: Special Education Advocate

Year first hired: 2012

Top Qualities: Fast, Great Results, Expert, Excellent Communication Skills


Laurel Collins is dedicated advocate who effectively works with parents and school administration.  Like me, many parents contact Laurel when the “team” is not in agreement or when parents need a direction with guided support. Laurel is there to help parents pick up the pieces and move forward with the “team” so that a child can get a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). In order to do this one has to have the knowledge of special education law and process which Laurel possesses.  Laurel takes the time to do a record review and hear what the goal of the child/parents is.  Having seen some of Laurel’s work through my own and other families’ experiences I would highly recommend her as an educational advocate.  Educational advocacy is what Laurel does. Advocacy is a job that she takes seriously, and she is honest with her clients as to what she thinks the outcome can be. 

Amy G.,  January 21, 2013


Laurel has been our daughter’s advocate for over a year, and has changed the course of my child’s life.  After years of floundering in an inadequate public school setting and failing both socially and academically; my daughter now has an out of district placement at a wonderful school that is a great fit for her.  Laurel did an incredible job of advocating for my daughter, and went on to do a wonderful  job with two of my nephews.  I will never attend another IEP meeting without her!

Service Category: Special Education Advocate

Year first hired: 2011 (hired more than once)

Top Qualities:  Great results, Expert, Good Value

– Kathleen Mun,  January 20, 2013


“Laurel thoroughly researched all information, testing, and progress reports for my son. She was able to synthesize all the information and present a detailed description of my son’s medical, learning, and social emotional needs. She was able to get all the professionals who work with him to understand who he is as a student and a person and what he needs to be happy and successful as well as to achieve his potential.”

-Wanda M., January 20, 2013


“Laurel has been a wonderful and effective partner on our son’s team over the past six months. Her depth of experience and knowledge, passion for her profession, and true partnership with our family has greatly assisted us in understanding and navigating the special needs education arena, and helped us to obtain services for our son that he otherwise would not have. I recommend her to any family seeking assistance with Autism and special needs programs!”

March 17, 2012, Sean Stanek

“Laurel has been an excellent advocate and advisor for our family. She works well with the school district and is known for her persistence. She is honest and straight-forward with her clients, which is a relief in the nebulous world of IEPs. I have recommended her to my friends, and would recommend her to anyone who is wondering if they need a SPED advocate.” December 28, 2011

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert 1stAdrienne Szafranski
hired Laurel as a Educational advocate in 2011


“I cannot thank Laurel enough for everything that she has done for our family. Laurel is aggressive and no-nonsense. She has done everything in her power, and sought out more power, when needed, to get our son every possible tool out there to help him grow and flourish. I doubt VERY highly that you will find a better, more dedicated advocate for your child. Thank you, Laurel!!” December 3, 2011

Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity1stDanielle Burnett
hired Laurel as a Special Education Advocate in 2011


“Laurel is an experienced and skilled advocate who can help your child to access the services and resources needed for an appropriate educational program. We are very thankful for the work she has done. I highly recommend Laurel!” December 2, 2011

Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity

1stEd Tree
hired Laurel as a Special Ed Advocate in 2011


“I highly recommend Laurel Collins. She is a pleasure to work with and has been a very effective educational advocate for our child over the last year and a half. She is very organized, always reachable when we need to communicate, thoughtful, and knowledgeable. Laurel works well with the team and partners with special education administrators to support common goals. Her skills were critical to obtaining two out-of-district placements, and her style was always professional and creative. She always asks salient questions and provides appropriate suggestions for the IEP process.

Laurel’s experiences in the special education world as the parent of 2 kids with significant needs, and also having been a provider and trainer give her a perspective that allows her to see both sides and negotiate on solid footing, while never failing to be compassionate and realistic. You’ll definitely want Laurel on your side when it is time to prepare for that IEP meeting or when you face some tough negotiations with your children’s school district. She is a true member of our child’s team, a fact graciously acknowledged by our special education director. In short, I highly endorse Laurel’s work as a special education advocate and consultant.” October 26, 2011

Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity

1stJoerg Drewitz
hired Laurel as a Special Education Advocate in 2010, and hired Laurel more than once


“Laurel is an effective advocate for parents of children with special needs. She specializes in young children with special needs. I highly recommend her. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Cynthia Levine” August 28, 2009

1stCynthia E. Levine, Education, Inclusion & Behavior Consultant, Assistive Technology Specialist, Shriver Clinical Services Corporation
was with another company when working with Laurel at Special Education Advocacy


“Laurel is very knowlegable and a strong advocate for those with special needs. She is well versed in special education laws and can support others as an advocate very well.” August 26, 2009

1stRebecca Goniwich, Workshop Presenter, Federation for Children with Special Needs
was with another company when working with Laurel at Special Education Advocacy


“Laurel Collins is a passionate advocate for children with disabilities. She has excellent leadership skills and dedication to make sure that children with disabilities receive the education that they are entitled to. She is dedicated to her professional development to stay current in the field of special education and advocacy.” April 16, 2009

1stSuzanne Gervais, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of Special Education Parent Advisory Councils
worked directly with Laurel at Special Education Advocacy


“I am writing in behalf of Laurel Collins. I had the privilege of caring for her children as a school nurse in Woburn, Ma. Laurel’s devotion to her children and others was amazing. She went above and beyond her status of a mother and her advocacy to special needs: especially with Autism. She is caring, knowlegeable and an expert in the special education field. I would recommended Laurel in all aspects in the educational/consultant field.” April 16, 2009

1stKate Genovese, Author/RN, Whispering Hill press
was a consultant or contractor to Laurel at Special Education Advocacy


“Ms. Collins is a very skilled and compassionate advocate for children who have special needs. She is very sensitive to family issues and works collaboratively with school districts to ensure the best educational programming for students with disabilities. She is a skilled negotiator and facilitator and has developed a successful advocacy practice as a result. I recommend Laurel Collins without reservation.” November 13, 2011

1stSuzanne Gervais, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of Special Education Parent Advisory Councils
worked with Laurel at Federation for Children with Special Needs