Debra Isaacs Schafer
Consultant. Advocate. Advisor. Coach. Speaker.
For 25 years, I've partnered with and supported working parents like yourself, raising neurodiverse children, teens, and young adults while managing the caregiving and work/life issues that frame your reality. With deep understanding and appreciation of the herculean effort that accompanies your daily life, it is through education, strategies, tactics, and advocacy that my focus is on increasing your competence and confidence as you navigate through the complexities of special education to help your child realize success in school today and beyond.
Having walked this path myself as the parent of a neurodiverse child, now an adult, my choice was to leave the corporate arena to focus on my child's education and needs, prioritizing my work/life responsibilities accordingly. It is a decision many parents, particularly working mothers, are continuing to make today.
Your reality is called "exceptional caregiving," where all aspects of life are framed around the ebb and flow of your child's chronic and crisis issues with September to June often being acute and pivotal. And these needs have a significant impact on your career, work, family, and mental health as well.
Our highly-individualized partnership will meet you exactly where you are, focusing on the immediate and pressing issues and concerns while keeping a keen eye on longer-term needs and plans. Today is pressing, yet planning for what comes next is an equally important part of the process.
Some of the ways
I can help you.
Analyze and explain your child's educational documents, testing, narratives, and data.
Evaluate IEPs including goals, accommodations, modifications, and recommendations.
Review placement options, both in district and beyond, including private and alternative placements.
Participate in IEP meetings and collaborate with independent clinicians and service providers.
Monitor progress reports, regression, newly-emerged issues, and plans including behavior, crisis intervention, transition, and Extended School Year (ESY).
Some of the ways I've
helped other parents.
Increased services and supports targeting academic, social, behavioral, functional, and executive function needs.
Developed and revised IEP goals including baselines for data collection and benchmarks for progress monitoring.
Negotiated special education eligibility and private educational placements at school district expense.
Increased accommodations and modifications to address and support needs across all school environments.
Avoided due process through ongoing IEP discussions, addressed school avoidance and homework issues, and provided assistance with sourcing resources and providers.
I will get you to where you need to be.
Advanced training in special education, neurodiversity, autism, behavior interventions, mental health, and legal issues.
National media resource and podcast guest on topics including neurodiversity and navigating special education/school as well as work/life integration including exceptional caregiving, workplace flexibility, and supporting and retaining working parents.
Speaker: Working Mothers Work Life Congress and Work Beyond Conference. Education Law Center on Alternative Dispute Resolution. Human Resources and Employee Assistance conferences. Corporations, special needs conferences, and parent groups.
Founder/CEO, Education Navigation. Founder/Managing Partner, Work/Family Management and Professional Mothers. Member, Pennsylvania Autism Taskforce. Former Columnist, Parents Express. Former Host, Work/Life Journal, WBEB-FM/Philadelphia.
Recipient of the WorldatWork Alliance for Work/Life Progress award for innovative special education employee benefits for working parents. Recognized by Cure Autism Now & Autism Speaks.
Media, Mentions & More
Helping Employees Whose Dependents Have Special Needs
Is Education Care the New Elder Care?
5 Work-Life Winners
Debra is, without a doubt, one of the most valuable and knowledgeable resources about autism and special education you can find. I highly recommend her - you will not find anyone better.
Dad, CEO, Pharmaceutical Industry