Advocacy (Board Certification for Advocacy in Special Education) BCASE
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The Pressing Need for Special Education Advocates
The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) and the American Academy of Special Education Professionals (AASEP) recognize the increasing need for qualified special education advocates. In order to enhance this area of concern, they have created a comprehensive special education advocacy program whereby upon completion, you become a Board Certified Advocate in Special Education (BCASE).
With the increasing demands on the special education community, the goal for children to receive a free appropriate public education has often become lost in the ever changing political, monetary and regulatory environment. Therefore, the need for special education advocacy to ensure that children and their parents are protected under the law has never been more important.
The primary responsibility of a special education advocate is to represent the best interests of students in seeking special education supports and services under the law (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Advocates are often former teachers, administrators, special education professionals, education specialists, and even parents. They may have expertise in areas like:
- Teaching methods
- Specific learning and attention issues, or other disabilities
- Behavior strategies
- Assistive technology
- Mediating disputes
- Knowledge of programs in different private and public schools
- Special education law
A special education advocate assists families of children with any learning concerns. Some students have needs that are already identified, whereas other parents will seek advocacy support in helping them identify issues that may be affecting their child's learning.
Parents might consider working with a special education advocate when:
1. They feel overwhelmed with the amount and type of information they are receiving,
2. They need assistance in correspondence or locating additional supports, and/or
3. They need help with problem solving when issues are challenging and it becomes hard to maintain emotions while attending meetings.
Surprisingly, special education advocates are not mandated to have specific educational credentials and are not licensed specifically as special education advocates. While there are advocate training programs, which are hosted by a range of organizations, from law schools, to educational agencies, to private individuals and companies, there is no governing body that ensures that advocates are trained.
Because there are no federal or state legislative or regulatory guidelines for the educational or credentialing requirements for special education advocacy, it is essential that the highest level of knowledge of the special education process, the professionals who work with children with disabilities, and the laws regulating the process be integral to the certification process. NASET and AASEP have recognized the need for qualified special education advocates and have created a comprehensive special education advocacy program whereby upon completion, you become a Board Certified Advocate in Special Education.
The NASET and AASEP Board Certification program for Advocacy in Special Education (BCASE) is comprised of a comprehensive compilation of 30 Units of study broken down into 6 specific Modules. Each Unit contains video lectures, PowerPoint presentations, supplemental videos and supplemental readings. At the end of each Module, there is a multiple choice examination which must be successfully completed to move on to the next Module. Upon successful completion of each Module exam, you will immediately be able view/save or print a professional certificate of completion.
Clearly, an advocate can become an invaluable asset to a family and a child with a disability. Becoming an effective advocate requires learning about good advocacy practices as well as having patience and perseverance. Some people are naturally better at advocacy than others. Those who tend to be better advocates are people who are not easily intimidated by difficult people or situations and who have little difficulty in speaking up for themselves or others. Some people, however, learn to be good advocates over time. The NASET and AASEP Board Certification program in Advocacy in Special Education (BCASE) offers you all the materials to be an effective, articulate, and qualified special education advocate. In the end, completion of the BCASE program will provide you with the knowledge, skills and abilities to be confident as an advocate for children with special needs and their parents.
CERTIFICATION RENEWAL FOR SUCCESSFUL B.C.A.S.E. PROFESSIONALS
All candidates who complete the Board Certified Advocate in Special Education program must renew their certification annually with the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) The goal of certification renewal is to ensure that BCASE professionals maintain the highest level of competence and continue to remain current in the field of special education advocacy. Although certification renewal will provide an additional unit of updated information, it does not require any further examinations or the performance of any professional duties for certification renewal. The annual BCASE certification renewal fee for NASET Member is $125.00. Non-members renewal fee is $165.00. BCASE RENEWAL FORM