I'm Raven Woods
I help committed parents, caregivers, teachers & aspiring advocates gain the knowledge and confidence to become the CEO of their child’s IEP Meeting.
The highest-ranking person in a company or other institution, ultimately responsible for making managerial decisions.
In this case, you, the Parent, become the person to direct, drive and oversee your child’s education when the stakes are high in order for growth to occur.
In simpler words, a CEO is the person who knows how to:
Lead the meeting
Not be interrupted
Stand on your own two feet
Be persistent and consistent
Not back down or allow fear to guide you
And I help you become this person for your child’s IEP through my courses, programs, membership, and private coaching.
Before I share more about me, here's what I know about you:
As a parent of a child with disabilities, I know how hard you work every day to give your child the best life possible, helping them overcome their challenges, and live their happiest, most fulfilling life – the same things EVERY parent wants for their child.
But I also know what it’s like to toss and turn at night, stressing about your child, and wondering if you’ll ever be able to give them the life they so much deserve. You know how amazing your child is and that they are capable of so much! But you worry that without the right education and school support, your child will not reach their full potential. I know because I’ve been in your shoes.
You want to see PROGRESS and your child to be given every opportunity to the maximum extent possible in order for educational progress to happen.
From fighting the IEP battle for 6 and a half years... to becoming the GO-TO IEP Advocate
How My Journey Began…
Today people know me for:
But, let me be very honest here…
I didn’t always have this level of expertise! In fact, far from it.
I’ve been through thick and thin of the IEP battle.
Let's rewind to where it all started in 2007...
My daughter Skylar (“Skye” for short) was just three months old and contracted viral meningitis. After a difficult hospital stay where she was poked and prodded for endless tests and treatments, she recovered, and I thought we would be okay.
She wasn’t though.
My baby was ALWAYS sick – ear infections, fevers, viruses – we were in and out of the ER. Then, I noticed Skye wasn’t achieving her developmental milestones, which led to an Early Intervention referral and starting her in occupational and physical therapies at just six months old. You know the drill, right?
When Skye was two, she qualified for the school’s Early Childhood Education Program, then, at 5 years old, is when the real fight for my child’s future began. I knew my child’s strengths and challenges, what my child needed, what services she would need to thrive, and I felt confident that the school would be on my side. After all, we all had the same goals – Skye’s success – right?
But painfully enough, that wasn’t the case!
During my first IEP meeting, as prepared as I thought I was (having researched the laws and more), boy was I wrong! I could tell they thought I was a joke. I was basically “told” what Skye would get and what they were not going to do. I had zero say over my own child’s education! I quickly found out that the school was more concerned with the budget and their convenience, than making sure Skye got the education and services she needed.
I took what they gave me and left the meeting in tears. I felt like I failed her.
Where I went wrong...
➔ I realized I didn’t know ANYTHING about what my daughter was entitled to, what her rights truly were, or mine as a parent.
➔ I didn’t know how to use the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) in order to get Skye what she needed.
➔ Or what exactly Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) was.
After I had my melt down, I decided that I would never let it happen to me again.
Before the next IEP meeting, I, again, spent HOURS on Google doing my research and this time, Iwalked in with a plan and bullet point notes to help me stay on track.
But everything fell flat on its face when they started rushing me, gaslighting me and somehow, making me forget all those things that I came to the IEP meeting so prepared to say.
Once again, I was by myself at a table full of people – the Principal, administrators, teachers and service providers, everyone making me believe I had to sign the IEP right then and there.
I ripped the IEP up in the Director of Special Education’s face at one point and walked out. I wasso mad! Looking back, I can still see their horrified faces and I chuckle, but at the time, I was amess inside and felt completely helpless
How things changed...
I realized I needed more than Google to help (Don’t you know, I have a Google Ph.D?). Because clearly, it was so much more than knowledge and facts from the internet. It was time I took that knowledge, “flipped it” and used it to get my child the individualized education she was entitled to and deserved.
You see, you have to know how to think quickly with your “mouth,” vs. your feet (seriously), how to use their language to get them to listen, along with using the facts on what they were required to do to provide FAPE for your child.
You need to be prepared to come back at them no matter what they say and let them know thatyou mean business, so they no longer take advantage of you. I decided to always be one step ahead because if they wanted to play games, I was going to play it better.
And guess what? It worked.
I started walking/logging into IEP meetings with the knowledge I needed to get my child what she needed. I was able to say “THIS is what my child needs,” and made sure she got it. More importantly, I was able to hold the school accountable to implementing her IEP because everything necessary was put into it.
No more empty promises.
I had finally, after six and a half years of hell, figured out what needed to be in the IEP, why thiswas so crucial, and how to use the right wording.
Today my daughter is getting everything that is needed and appropriate for her and is set up for educational success.
Today through my courses, products, and my monthly membership, I help parents, caregivers, teachers and aspiring advocates like you..
My system works for anyone at any stage in the IEP process – whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the thick of it for a while now. It can work for you, too.