Julie Swanson
Special Education Advocate

Dedicated to Improving Outcomes 

for Children with Disabilities

 throughout Connecticut

JULIE'S guiding principles

It's never too early to plan for your child's adulthood

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has your child's future as an adult at its heart, with the first stated purpose:

“to ensure that all students with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living"

As your Special Education Advocate , Julie will help you consider the skills your child will need in adulthood and consider them in all advocacy efforts

Education is more than academics

As a Special Education Advocate, Julie is dedicated to helping you secure appropriate services in all areas of need requiring special education, including: 

  • Social
  • Behavior 
  • Emotional
  • Communication
  • Academics
  • Assistive Technology 
  • Self Help 
  • Gross & Fine Motor
  • Sensory
  • Transition from School to Adulthood
    • independent living
    • employment
    • post secondary education / training
  • And other issues adversely affecting your child’s education

What you don't know can hurt your child's education

Parents are the enforcers of their child's rights under the IDEA and Section 504.

In addition to Julie's role as an advocate to help you secure appropriate special education services for your child, she will help you increase your knowledge of effective advocacy skills.  Her ultimate goal is for parents to learn as much as they can from her so they no longer need an advocate.  

Having said this, there are many parents for whom Julie continues to help with advocacy throughout their child's education.

There's a direct link between a child's outcome and their parent's advocacy efforts

Julie sees it over and over again.   It's just that simple!


How Julie became an advocate

It all started when...

Julie's son was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old, before the incidence of autism started to rise. Desperate to find him appropriate programming, she feverishly learned everything she could to help him and discovered an intervention model based on the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).  Julie set up school in her basement and he started to make great progress. Unfortunately, when it was time for him to be eligible for special education services at three, her school district didn't agree with her request to provide him a program based on this specific intervention.  In an unfortunate dispute, Julie retained an attorney and entered into Due Process.  Fortunately, she prevailed and her son received this intervention.

Going through a due process was like being thrown into special education boot camp. Julie hadn't realized how much she had learned until other parents started calling her for help with their own children.  With autism on the rise, the phone calls kept coming.  Julie realized how much she loved helping parents secure appropriate services for their children.  Faced with making a decision between her career in television production /public relations and becoming a professional advocate, she decided to reinvent herself  and go down this new path.

All these years later, Julie's son is now a young adult and thriving.  While autism remains a big focus of her advocacy practice, she works with all disabilities. 

Other Advocacy Efforts

Julie remained passionate about her love for video production and public relations and combined that passion with her advocacy efforts.  Attorney Jennifer Laviano and she partnered in creating, the first and only video-based website that helps parents understand their special education rights.  Julie serves as a co-chair of the public relations committee for the Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA), a national organization that promotes special education advocacy.  Additionally, she is the founding president of Special Education Equity for Kids of Connecticut (SEEKCT) and  instrumental in its promotion.  Julie is also a founding board member of Connecticut Families for Effective Autism Treatment (CT-FEAT)

Julie speaks frequently on special education matters and has a long-standing history of service on special education–related state boards, task forces, and legislative appointments to state councils.    She is currently a long-standing member of Connecticut's Transition Task Force and a member of the Connecticut IEP Document Revision group.

What parents have to say about Julie

Patricia P. - Norwich

Julie I still can not say enough about all of your help years ago with my daughter and fighting to get her an appropriate placement.  It made all the difference in the world.

 You make a huge difference to the families and children you help, I hope you realize how amazing you are.

Nancy & Paul Z.

We cannot praise Julie Swanson enough. As the parents girl diagnosed with autism, we have benefitted from her services for quite some time Her vast knowledge of special education issues and her incredible ability to pursue appropriate services has made a tremendous difference in our daughter’s educational experience and in her daily life. Julie’s representation at a PPT is truly remarkable. She is always right on, never intimidated, and it is at this stressful time when it becomes crystal clear that she knows her stuff!! Thank you Julie!! 


Jonathan,  thank you sooooooo much for referring me to Julie Swanson.  And Sue,  thank you for making it possible for Julie to assist our family in  getting my son's needs met at school.

Julie  Swanson ROCKS!  OMG it was so great to have so much support during the PPT.  She is so amazing.

Thank everyone, we are off on the path to success now and I feel so wonderful.  I don't know what I would do without all of you.


Julie has this exceptional ability to hone in on the issue at hand and is  relentless in her pursuit for fairness for kids who can't speak for themselfves.  I have used her services for many years to great success.   Her compassion and her tenaciousness truly distinguish her from other advocates.  She is truly one of the top advocates for children with special needs in the State.  

J & D

We retained Julie when the school district wanted to exit our child from special education. Julie handled this difficult case  with professionalism and care. She understands how troubling these cases  can be for parents. Our child is receiving much needed services due to Julie. We cannot thank her enough. 

Paul & Susan S.

We  have often been asked “Why do you feel you need an educational  advocate.   You are the child’s parents.  Surely you know what is best  for your child.”  We always respond “You are correct.  We are the  child’s parents and we do know what is best and most appropriate for our  child. That is why we have and educational advocate”. 

We have found her knowledge in the area of educational  advocacy to be superior. She takes the time to listen to parental and  student needs and leverages her own knowledge and experience to benefit  all involved. She understands the opportunities to leverage in school  and out of school resources to provide a cohesive plan that will  directly support the educational and parental objectives. She is able to  bring a level of objectivity to what at times can be an emotional  situation and works together with all parties to deliver positive results. Her dedication to getting positive results is unwavering. The  outstanding results that we, and our son, have been able to achieve have been a direct result of her efforts. We will forever be grateful for her help. 

Patty & Joe

Dear Julie,

We saw our son today for the first time  since dropping him off at his new residential placement. When we picked  him up, the first thing he said to us was "Mom and Dad, I made a  friend, she's a girl." Needless to say, it brought a tear to our eyes.  Just wanted to let you know again how you have made a difference in our  son's life. Without your dedication and determination, he would not be  where he is today. 

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Serving the Entire State of Connecticut