Dana W. Gillespie, MA
Are you concerned about possible delays or challenges? Are they having difficulty meeting academic or behavioral expectations? Do you have questions about resources or supports that might be available in the school setting? If your child is receiving special education services, are you concerned about a lack of progress or confused by the process?
Gillespie Educational Consulting can help with these concerns.
I am located in the Washington, DC metro area and can support families
in DC and surrounding school systems.
Gillespie Educational Consulting is committed to providing individualized educational consulting to families of students with or without identified special needs.
I believe that all children can learn, and that all children want to feel successful in school. When students experience behavioral and educational challenges, navigating procedures and services can be stressful and overwhelming for families. Having an informed guide to interpret the process and advocate for student rights can decrease anxiety, alleviate uncertainty, and help families make informed decisions. I believe it is the role of schools to access resources and support teachers so they can develop the skills needed to meet the needs of all learners.
With a Masters Degree in Special Education from George Washington University and almost 30 years of experience in special education in DC and Northern Virginia as a teacher, inclusion facilitator, workshop presenter, and behavior specialist, I have developed and implemented hundreds of IEPs, FBAs (Functional Behavior Assessment), and BIPs (Behavior Intervention Plan). I know what good programming looks like, how to effectively measure progress, and the importance of monitoring procedural compliance. I have worked with children who have a variety of special needs (learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, emotional or intellectual disabilities) across both special education and general education settings. I have participated in and presented training for both teachers and parents covering a range of topics such as learning and behavior challenges, social skills, instructional models, and research-based methodologies.
As a consultant, I have helped parents resolve attendance and disciplinary issues and access accommodations and supports for their children in the school setting. I have supported families moving through the special education eligibility and IEP process, and fought for expanded services through due process and litigation when warranted.
"Dana helped us navigate the special education process with our son, from eligibility to multiple IEPs, and ultimately through due process and into a funded private placement. Her professional knowledge and procedural expertise were definite assets at school meetings, and she made sure we understood our rights as parents and what supports and interventions were required in order for our son to make progress."
D and L
"We hired Dana when we felt our requests for an evaluation had not been given the proper attention by our school team. She was able to identify specific procedural lapses and helped advocate for increased support for our daughter at school. We definitely felt her knowledgeable presence at school meetings put the team on notice, held them accountable, and resulted in a more timely and appropriate response to our evaluation process. Dana approaches her work with experience and care; her efforts resulted in better school support for our daughter and an improvement in our own advocacy for our daughter going forth."
Jean and Dave, parents
"We consulted Dana about our school's administrative response to some medical and attendance issues our child was experiencing. Dana listened attentively, asked great questions, and had a genuine concern for our daughter. She knows the law like the back of her hand and she was able to determine that the school had not followed procedural guidelines for academic interventions or communication, which aided us in our efforts to resolve the situation. Dana provided us with guidance that helped us feel more informed and empowered in our interactions with the school. On a selfish note, she was also non- judgmental of us as parents, which was very meaningful. If your kid is struggling, you struggle too. As parents, we began questioning all of our actions from birth forward and couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Calling Dana and getting her help was invaluable. We just wish we had done it sooner."
We'll discuss your student's experiences, what challenges you are having, and consider options for moving forward. I am committed to helping families feel heard, respected, and confident in their dealings with their children's schools, and I'll do everything I can to help your child get the support they need and are entitled to under the law.