NASET / AASEP - Board Certification for Advocacy in Special Education (BCASE) Program
BCASE FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is defined as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others. Advocacy is the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal; the act or process of advocating something. “Educational Advocacy” is a vague term. ... 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 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA 2004). Special education advocates assist parents with understanding and participating in the special education process
How Are Special Education Advocates Different From Attorneys?
Special education advocates are different from attorneys. Attorneys (also known as lawyers) have college degrees and have graduated from law school. Attorneys have specific training in advocacy skills and must be licensed, meet continuing education requirements, and follow ethical guidelines. Attorneys can practice law, meaning they can provide legal advice, draft legal documents, and represent clients in court proceedings. 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.
Who Becomes a Special Education Advocate?
Advocates are often former teachers, administrators, special education professionals or education specialists. They may have expertise in areas like: Teaching methods; Specific learning and attention issues, or other disabilities; Behavior strategies; Evaluations; Assistive technology; Mediating disputes; Knowledge of programs in different private and public schools; and Special education law. And, many parents without expertise in the field of education (often those who have had children with special needs) will become special education advocates, as well.
What Does a Special Education Advocate Do?
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 an 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. Clearly, an advocate can become an invaluable asset to a family and a child with a disability.
Why Become Board Certified in Special Education Advocacy?
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. Advocates in special education can help parents get important services for their children with disabilities. Most people use them when schools or other service providers deny services, treatments, or equipment a child needs. While many advocates try to educate themselves, the reality is that most lack the knowledge, skills and abilities to be qualified as a special education advocate. Special education advocates must deal with a highly complex interdisciplinary approach since the special education process presents an intricate maze to navigate.
What Are the Qualifications to Be a Special Education Advocate?
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 (BCASE).
Can I Receive Professional or Educational Credit for Completion of the Modules?
That would depend upon many factors. Primary amongst them is the credit requirements for acceptance of by your school, district or governmental agency. All Modules have been rated by NASET/AASEP in study hours. The number of study hours is indicated on each Module certificate which also contain your name, the Module title, and the date of completion.
How Much Does the Program Cost?
The cost for NASET members is $950 in one payment or you can choose to pay for each of the 6 modules at $195/each. (Non-members pay $1,100 in one payment or $225/module).
Do I Need to be a Member of NASET or AASEP to Apply for BCASE?
No. Although NASET or AASEP membership does provide a discount, we do not require you to be a member of NASET or AASEP to apply.
Is There an Application Fee?
No. There is no application fee to apply for the BCASE program.
How Long Does it Take to Complete the BCASE Program?
Since the modules and examinations are available online 24/7, the time it takes is totally up to you. The only limitations are that you complete the 6 Modules within 2 years of your application acceptance. If you start with the NASET member’s discounted fees, your membership must remain active throughout the period, during which you are completing the requirements.
After Completion of All Requirements, How Long Does it Take to Attain the Designation of BCASE?
Once you have completed the Module requirements, your credentials are presented to the Board for approval. The time from program completion to attaining BCASE certification documentation is approximately 10 business days.
Will I Need to Renew My Certification?
Yes. 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 annual BCASE certification renewal fee for NASET Members is $125.00. Non-members renewal fee is $165.00. DOWNLOAD BCASE RENEWAL FORM
Do I Need to Travel to a Location to Access Materials, View a Lecture or Take the Examinations?
No. Our Units, Modules and examinations are all online. There is no need to travel to access anything. The entire program, from start to finish, can be done in the comfort of your home, office or wherever you choose.
Are There Specific Start Dates to Begin the BCASE Program?
No, you can begin to start a Module whenever you choose. You work and study at your own pace. As soon as you are notified of your access via email, your access has been “turned on” so that you may begin at your convenience.
When Can I Take the Examination for a Given Module?
That is also completely up to you. You work and study for an examination at your own pace. There is no specific examination date. You set the pace of the program based on your availability.
If I Do Not Pass the Examination, Will I Be Given Another Chance?
Yes. You are allowed 3 attempts to complete each of the 6 Module examinations.
How Do I Advance to the Next Module After I Complete the Latest Examination?
Once you receive a score of 80% or higher on a Module Examination, you can then print a certificate of successful completion. You will need to provide this certificate to the Career Center at NASET by email, fax or mailing. The following is information for each method to send the certificate: Email – email@example.com Fax: 800-424-0371 or by mail: NASET Career Center, 3642 E. Sunnydale Drive, Chandler Heights, AZ 85142. Lastly payment must be completed before any module is activated.
What Do I Do if I Have Technical Issues With Online Module Access or Examinations?
Contact the NASET Career Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 800-754-4421 ext 102
How Will I Know When Or if I Have Access to a Given Module?
You will receive an emailed notification that access to the next Module has been activated. You can also see active links for modules with access turned on for you in the Module Access Portal page* (Please note – You must be logged in to see the Module Access Link(s))
Who Do I Contact If I Have Any Questions About the BCASE Program?
Contact the NASET Career Center at email@example.com or call us at 800-754-4421 ext 102