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Debra Isaacs Schafer

Advocate.

Coach.

Advisor.

Consultant.

Speaker.

After leaving the corporate arena as a Human Resources Director, my work and focus has been on providing advocacy and coaching support to working parents with exceptional caregiving needs raising neurodiverse children, teens, and young adults.

 

With deep expertise and understanding of the herculean effort that frames your daily life, it is by partnering with you that strategies, tactics, and answers lead to workable solutions for your child and for you. Your child's individual and complex needs related to school are often for years, having a significant impact on virtually all aspects of your life. I understand as I've lived it too.

My decision to leave the corporate world and focus on my child's unique educational needs meant adjusting my work/life responsibilities accordingly. It was also when it became clear that many working parents were facing similar life issues and conflicts with few resources and access to individualized support as well. The decision to make a career change, whether by circumstance or choice, is a decision many parents, particularly working mothers, continue to make today with many leaving the workforce entirely.

Your reality as a working parent where many aspects of life revolve around your neurodivergent child and their chronic and crisis issues creates unique challenges where the ebb and flow of their needs impacts all areas of life -- your career, job, family, marriage, finances, and your mental health as well.

Together, we will focus on your immediate issues and concerns while keeping a keen eye on important longer-term needs, decisions, and plans. Today is pressing, yet planning for what comes next when it comes to your child's success in school and plans for their future are equally important parts of their educational path and process.

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Some of the ways
I can help you.

Provide you with essential baseline information you need to know about the special education arena.

 

Pinpoint and evaluate your child's school-based needs including how to address needed changes.

Increase your effectiveness navigating school meetings, reviewing documents, and documenting your concerns.

Evaluate and strategize steps related to your child's transitions - grade-to-grade, post high school, and beyond.

Ensure best use of your time and effort preparing for school meetings focusing on your immediate needs and concerns while anticipating what comes next.

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Some of the ways I've
helped other parents.

Increased school services and supports targeting academic, social, behavioral, and executive function needs.

Integrated coaching of business strategies to improve parent communication in school meetings and discussions.

Negotiated special education eligibility and private educational placements at school district expense.

Acted as an informal mediator in challenging school district meetings to help reach consensus and resolutions.

Collaborated with clinicians, attorneys, and other independent resources for children as well as locating work/life supports for working parents.

I will get you to where you need to be. 

Credentials

National media resource and podcast guest on topics including work/life integration, workplace flexibility and remote work, supporting and retaining working mothers and parents, family-supportive employer benefits, neurodiversity, navigating special education/school, and exceptional caregiving.

 

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.

Former: Member, Pennsylvania Autism Taskforce; Columnist, Parents Express; 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 national autism organizations.

 

Advanced training in work/life, women & work, special education, neurodiversity, autism, mental health, and federal/state laws. 

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Media, Mentions & More

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College Transition: - ADHD - Learning Disabilities - With Dr. Richard Selznick, "The Shut-Down Learner"The Coffee Klatch
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Image by Mitchell Luo

Client Engagements

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Testimonials

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

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