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Become a (Better) Special Education Advocate

Become a (Better) Special Education Advocate

The most comprehensive course on special education advocacy on the market designed to address not only the content of special education but also advocacy, negotiation strategy, and business operation.


Take the Dive!

Hiiii! I’m Ashley! I’m a special education attorney, mom, wife, and advocate with wild passion and a lotta spunk. I love the pool, reading, guac, and Key West.  

I haven’t always been an attorney. In fact, I grew up wanting to be a teacher, and I still want to be a teacher. Twenty years ago, you could have found me wearing a turtleneck, jumper, and clay jewerly while singing the months of the year in German with kindergartners! While it was everything I ever thought I wanted, my job as a teacher turned out to be a bureaucratic nightmare. I felt trapped in the cinder block building, trapped by administrators and systems that didn’t encourage good teaching but rather years of experience, trapped by the hours and the salary and even the dumb continuing education that didn’t educate.  

What I should have realized in college – or maybe even before- was that I am not made to have a boss, to follow a hierarchy, to smile and say, “yes,” when my soul screams of a better way. I am a mold breaker, an optimist, a boss! My mom was a teacher, and I’d tried her job. My dad is an attorney, so I figured I’d try his job next!!! I needed control of my future, and I found that control when I bought my own law firm.  

Yes, yes, working for yourself is great. You lunch when you want to lunch. You vacation when you want to vacation. You get to decide if you pick your kids up at school or hire a babysitter. You even get to tell other people what to do! I enjoyed the freedom and the professionalism of practicing law and felt fulfilled in a general practice, but I knew I wanted still more.  

Advocating for my son, Jack, within the first hours of his life, lit a spark in me. Seeing his differences and unique needs right from his birth gave me an intense appreciation for humankind. Knowing that I had the skills to advocate for him and to help him develop inspired my inner advocate, making sense of every life decision I’d made up until that point. My teaching experience helped me understand why he needed certain therapies and procedures. My training as an attorney helped me communicate effectively on his behalf. My experience with traumatic injury helped me empathize with his uniqueness and to internalize his individualism. My whole life trained me to celebrate his differences.

I started Ashley Barlow Co. to empower and inspire IEP team members and special education advocates, to form a community of like-minded advocates, and to teach people to empathetically advocate within the framework of the law. If I can help you break free from the things that are holding you back, both in your career and in your role on the IEP team, I’ll consider my job done. If I can do it, you can, too!  

Like Stories? I’ve Got a Good One.

Ready to feel empowered?

Are you a teacher that’s...

ready to dive in?  click here! ⟶

💡 Hamstrung by your district and administration’s policies and procedures.

💡 Frustrated because you know how to best support your students.

💡 Ready to break free of the confines of educational hierarchies and to control your own schedule, work load, and outreach?  

Are you a parent that’s...

💡 Mad enough to be inspired to learn more about supporting students in special education.

💡 Energized to guide other families through the special education process.

💡 Ready to jump into the field of special education advocacy?   

💡 Confident to utilize your skill sets to really collaborate with an IEP team to get it right for students with disabilities.

💡 Secure in your knowledge of effective strategies and supported in your relentless commitment to the students.

💡 Respected for your professionalism, creativity, and interest. 

💡 Valued by school staff so you can show up as an interested and involved participant in the special education process.
💡 Unfettered by old-school interpretation of laws and the selfish interests of the people in charge. 

Can you imagine feeling...

I’ve taken everything I’ve learned as a special education attorney and business owner and condensed it into a scalable yet thorough course that covers everything you need to take the leap – advocacy strategies, business development and operation tips, and closer looks at topics in special education content. 

While everyone else is spinning their wheels, dreaming of a way to actually help students in special education, you’ll be making a difference, earning money, and controlling your destiny! 

Introducing Advocacy, Business, and Concepts in Special Education

Want to know more? 


that teaches you everything you need to know to get started and grow as a special education advocate – advocacy strategies, business development and operation tips, and closer looks at topics in special education content.  

Advocacy, Business, and Concepts in Special Education is an online training course

What Is ABC? 

When I started my own law firm over ten years ago and later pivoted to focus primarily on special education, I had no idea what I was doing! I made lots of mistakes but kept working, committing myself to figuring it out. In just one year – with virtually no advertising – my special education practice became my highest grossing practice area. I figured it out – and now I want to share with you how to build and grow a successful special education advocacy practice yourself.  


Advocacy, Business, and Concepts in Special Education


What You Will Learn

foundational part of advocacy work


client counseling and client control


advocacy tips


break down the unauthorized practice of law


What you'll learn...

Advocacy: The File Review

Business: Set Up

Concepts in Special Education: History of Special Education Law (And How to Use It In Your Advocacy)

unit 01

unit 02

unit 03

unit 04

I Can’t Wait.  Sign me up! ⟶

Every Unit has 3 lessons – one on Advocacy, one on Business development and growth, and one on specific concepts in Special Education. Get it? ABC! Yes, I love a good pun – especially if it’s also an acronym.  

Advocacy: Client Counseling/ Client Control 

Business: Early Operation

Concepts in Special Education: Manifestation Determination Reviews

Advocacy: The Demand Letter  

Business: Funding

Concepts in Special Education: Transition Ideas

Advocacy: Unauthorized Practice of Law 

Business: Marketing

Concepts in Special Education: Concepts in Special Education Compensatory Education 

unit 05

Advocacy: Preparing for Mediation 

Business: Fee Structure Ideas 

Concepts in Special Education: Executive Functioning

unit 06

Advocacy: Collaborating with An Attorney 

Business: Apps/ Tech Tools for your SPED Advocacy Business

Concepts in Special Education: Basics from Endrew F. 

the Details

Deep Dive Inside



In Unit One I will help you with a foundational part of advocacy work, the File Review. We will also talk about how to start your business and develop a business plan. I will also give you a lesson on the history of special education law for context but will also help you use the history in your advocacy work.

✔️How to onboard clients with a good intake process

✔️How to efficiently review a client’s files and communicate your findings 

✔️How to get started in business, writing a business plan, and choose the right business structure 

✔️Why the history of special education law is important and how to use it to your client’s advantage

In your Workbook, you’ll also find: 

✔️Intake Meeting/ Initial Consult Checklist
✔️Components to a File Review Document
✔️Parts of a Business Plan 
✔️List of Special Education Books and Trainings



In Unit Two we will cover client counseling and client control, a necessary component to guiding parents through the special education process, and we will continue with a list of decisions you will need to make early on to set up your business successfully. We will cover a manifestation determination reviews, a hot topic in special education right now, particularly with discipline case is rising.

✔️How to successfully manage relationships with your own clients to guide them through the special education process effectively and productively. 

✔️What considerations you’ll need to make to get your business up and running – think staffing, space, and more!  

✔️How to advocate for a client at a manifestation determination review with an empathetic behavior- and disability-centered approach.  

In your Workbook, you’ll also find: 

✔️Top Tricks for Client Control
✔️Technology Ideas
✔️File Storage Ideas
✔️Process of the Manifestation Determination Review 
✔️Checklist to Prepare for the Manifestation Determination Review 



In Unit Three I will provide you with an advocacy tip I have shared with all of my advocate friends with resounding success, the demand letter. I will walk you through how to write a demand letter in a way that will achieve results. We will also discuss how to anticipate costs, set your fees, and estimate your profits. Finally, I will provide you with 10 tips to use while advocating for students that are transition aged.

✔️How to write a demand letter like an attorney and why demand letters may be more effective than filing complaints.

✔️How to calculate your billing rates and how to run your business in a way to avoid personal liability.  

✔️What tried and true tips work at transition meetings, whom to invite to transition meetings, and what information you may have forgotten about!  

In your Workbook, you’ll also find: 

✔️Business Budget Form
✔️Hourly Rate Calculator 



In Unit Four I will break down the unauthorized practice of law into something that is easy to understand. I will also help provide you with 10 tips for marketing and growing your business that I use in both of my businesses with great success. Finally, I will breakdown compensatory education for you, starting with how to identify when compensatory education may be available while focusing on how to calculate it.

✔️What advocates can and cannot do in most jurisdictions and what steps you should take to ensure that you’re not violating your states’ laws regarding the unauthorized practice of law.  

✔️How to successful market and scale your business while also working on the content and management. 

✔️What compensatory education is, when it may be warranted, how to calculate it, and how to advocate for your clients to get it.

In your Workbook, you’ll also find: 

✔️Marketing Strategies That Work



Unit Five kicks off the second Bundle of the ABC Course and welcomes an additional cohort of students. In this Unit I’ll help you prepare yourself, your client, and the mediator for mediation, the process which resolves most cases that reach impasse. We’ll also discuss one of the most helpful business tips I’ve received, how to establish a fee schedule; and we’ll dive into Executive Functioning, an issue that has arisen in many cases since the pandemic began.  

✔️How to knock a mediation out of the ballpark with proper preparation strategies. 

✔️All about the different ways to engage with and get paid clients and how to develop a fee structure that helps you seal the deal and best serve your clients. 


✔️What Executive Functioning Deficits are, how to best accommodate child that present with EF deficits in the classroom, and what teachers can do to actually provide specially designed instruction for these students.

In your Workbook, you’ll also find: 

✔️Mediation Checklist
✔️Pre-Mediation Letter
✔️Know Your Worth
✔️The Executive Functions
✔️Accommodations/ SDI to Target Executive
✔️Functioning Deficits



In Unit Six you’ll learn all about how to collaborate with attorneys, both to receive additional referrals and to turn over work that is ready for due process or other legal work. You’ll also find out about many of the websites and apps that I use in my daily practice to support my productivity, research, and content needs. Finally, I’ll share with you some of my favorite quotes from the most recent SCOTUS case on special education, Endrew F., while also providing ideas about how to translate the quotes into actual advocacy strategies.  

✔️How to expand your practice by collaborating with attorneys and how to maintain those valuable relationships by setting up effective systems for communication and collaboration. 

✔️How to access free and reasonably priced tech tools and digital apps to support your practice comprehensively. 


✔️What Endrew F. says about meaningful progress, appropriately ambitious goals, inclusion, and much, much more! 

In your Workbook, you’ll also find: 

✔️Brainstorming Activity for Collaboration with Attorneys
✔️Tech Tools
✔️Important Quotes from Endrew F.

Can you imagine...

I know what you’re thinking. Sure, I have the passion, but do I know enough? And how in the heck am I going to run a business? Do I have the time? How will I make money? Will people actually pay me? Believe me. I asked all of these questions before I went to law school and again when I jumped head first into special education law. I dove in, worked hard, and immediately saw results. After over 15 years as an attorney, I know what works and what doesn’t, and I am breaking it all down for you and easy-to-follow checklists and lessons. I never studied special education in college, I did not go to business school, and my law school didn’t even offer a class in special education law, but here I am earning a living as a special education attorney. If I can do this, you can become an advocate.

Study at your own pace

Plan based on your learning style


Follow a proven roadmap

Frustrated because they know what’s right

Stuck in school

Tired of the buearocracy 

Hamstrung by administration

Not respected

Confused by school’s interpretation of the law 

Hands are tied 

Afraid of getting in trouble

Want to help students AND families – conflicted 

parents & Teachers are you feeling...

Energized to help others but uninformed

Ready to jump into the workforce or to switch careers but unsure of where to start

Mad enough to want to effect change

imagine feeling...

Energized to help others but uninformed

Ready to jump into the workforce or to switch careers but unsure of where to start

Mad enough to want to effect change

Educated and organized for this new chapter 

Assured in a roadmap and a supportive community 

Guided with a toolkit to channel their fire into something productive 

Help parents avoid the pitfalls you’ve already experienced 

This course will give parents/teachers with determination the tools to make actionable change.

Yes, determined. It’s all a learning curve so being informed is our superpower

"Prior to taking the ABC Course I was already working as an advocate, but after a move, I was feeling uninspired."

I took the course to learn effective advocacy strategies and business tips. By taking the ABC Course and joining the ABC Community, I feel confident working with clients for payment, knowing my time and expertise are valuable. I’ve recently started working for a law firm as a parent advocate! My advice - sign up NOW! You never know what opportunities for advocacy will come your way next!


ABC Student @educationwitherininsta

Yes, It Really Works

“I’ve referred special education work to Ashley’s law firm for years, and over the years,"

Ashley has started training me as a special education advocate. She lays out material in an organized and structured way and also always takes time to explain how to do the actual advocacy work - how to get what the student needs. Her graceful, optimistic outlook in advocacy mirrors her teaching style. I’m so excited to take her ABC Course so I can finally hit the ground running with my own business!”


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One-time payment of $447 ⟶

the bundle one-time payment of $520.50 ⟶