When you hire Special Support Services, you will be assigned a case leader who will serve as your primary point of contact. The case leader works with the entire Special Support Services team to troubleshoot issues as they arise. Our team includes:
Amber Decker, Senior Family Peer Advocate, (pictured left) excels at analyzing case-specific situations and working with families to implement real-world solutions using human resources, education and training. After 3 years of serving as a freelance advocate, Amber started Special Support Services in 2017 with the aim of providing direct 1:1 peer support for parents of children with disabilities. Previously, she spent 8 years preparing medical, human resources and judicial reports, organizing evidence and records for administrative hearings, fair hearings and reviews as well as mentoring dozens of parents of students with disabilities.
In addition to years of doing extensive research on educational advocacy, she has completed the New York State Family Peer Advocate Credential process from Families Together in NY State; the NY Partners in Policymaking program; is a Support Parent with Parents for Parents, and is a certified IEP Parent Member. Among her many affiliations, she was previously a member of the Parent Advisory Panel for New York Legal Services, assisting in policy recommendations for crisis and de-escalation in public schools. She is a coalition member of Medicaid Matters New York, Steering Group; on the Advisory Council for the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI); and a past elected member of the Citywide Council on Special Education for the New York City Department of Education and continues to work with the council as a High School Rep. She is a graduate of Hunter College, product of the NYC public school system, and a native New Yorker. She lives in Brooklyn with her son and their dog, Andy.
Jennifer Choi, Parent Advocate (pictured center) specializes in helping students with disabilities in using assistive technology devices and services in order to work faster, better, and with less stress! A former NYU School of Medicine publicist and youth services provider, Jenn was introduced to the world of special education 10 years ago. Having two sons with disabilities, she realized that she had to learn as much as she could in order to best advocate for them. By necessity and curiosity, Jenn studied many evidence-based methods proven to help children with learning disabilities overcome their challenges. Her journey led her to create an online toy and tool information resource, Toys as Tools, which featured expert interviews from speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists, among others, as well as diligent product testing to help parents choose and use toys therapeutically and for fun. She became a regular contributor to Forbes, Quartz and other national outlets. Toy testing gave her entry into the world of assistive and instructional technology, which Jenn found critical to the success of many students receiving special education services.
In the last 2 years, she has served as an advocate and consultant, holding seminars on assistive technology and topics such as, “how 2e students can best navigate the NYC high school admissions process.” In addition to social cognition and executive function skills training, Jenn has trained in The Writing Revolution method, which she finds is an effective solution for students who have difficulty generating written work for academic courses (essays, note taking, reports). She has received Advanced Advocate training in “Representing Parents at Impartial Hearings” through COPAA and participated in the Wrightslaw special education law and advocacy program. Seven years ago, she started 2eNYC, the city’s only listserv for parents of twice-exceptional children (now at over 400 members). She also proudly serves on the board of Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy, TECA.
Rachel Ford, Parent Advocate (pictured right) offers guidance in designing special education supports to help students with disabilities, particularly those who identify as twice-exceptional or 2e. She is especially well-versed in the NYC ASD Nest application process and program offerings. She has received Advanced Advocate training in “Representing Parents at Impartial Hearings” through COPAA and participated in the Wrightslaw special education law and advocacy program. She is a strong believer in community organizing, and has started many parent action groups at schools throughout the city. She also runs the unofficial citywide listserv for parents in the ASD Nest program. Among her many affiliations, she is a member of COPAA as well as advocacy group 2eNYC, through which she helped draft and publish the first-ever survey of public and private school parents, the 2018 2eNYC Parent Survey and Results.
Prior to joining Special Support Services in 2018, she spent 20 years honing her negotiation skills in the field of nonprofit management; most notably holding senior positions at Creative Time, HERE Arts Center and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards.