Get on the path to results today with a special education lawyer .
Get on the path to results today with a special education lawyer .
Having Attorney Melissa Gagne represent our son has brought peace of mind to the IEP/PPT process. As parents of a child with complex medical and intellectual needs, we quickly understood that we would never be able to advocate for his needs in the way necessary. It is just too complicated of a process. Attorney Gagne is not only an exceptional attorney but is extremely well versed in education administration. This combination of experience was a key factor in knowing that she was the best fit to represent our son. Her presence has facilitated a transparent and respectful PPT process, with progress made to enhance his IEP at each review.
Melissa Gagne has represented our family within the school district for the past 2 1/2 years. From our very first meeting with her we knew she was the right person to help us. She listened thoroughly to all of our background information regarding our son and guided us from day one. Melissa's incredibly diverse background in both the educational field and the law allows her to utilize the strengths and experience she has. Walking into our ppt meeting with our district we didn't know what to expect. Walking out of the meeting we felt confident and were so impressed with Melissa's expertise in communicating with everyone at the meeting. Her researching skills and professionalism are unmatched. Melissa is always responsive and initiates communication constantly so you always know what to expect. If you are looking for representation within education for your child we can't imagine anyone working harder or doing a better job than Melissa.
Melissa Gagne has been an honorary member of our family since the summer of 2021. We found ourselves quite disappointed by our daughter’s school system. A young child with severe medical complexities, our daughter’s district and school was not prepared to offer an appropriate program or even have the simplest of accommodations in place to protect her from the effects of covid. As parents, we panicked to keep our little girl safe from staying in the house (26 months now) to mask wearing 24/7, to taking leaves of absence from work just to keep her healthy. Throughout the year, it was Melissa (not friends, not family, not school admin) who kept us calm, well informed and confident in our decisions.
As educators ourselves, Melissa became our voice where we had none, where we were dealing with a school district, who understandably, didn’t know what to expect next. With Melissa’s knowledge and never ending support, my daughter has flourished this year despite the impact of the pandemic. She received a thorough and appropriate educational experience, all from home, putting her health first.
Time and time again I’ve told Melissa that she will likely be with our family fighting by our side for the duration of my daughter’s educational career- we have had no regrets, consider our money and time well spent, and appreciate the relationship we’ve developed with our amazing advocate!
Melissa Gagne has represented our family within our school district for 3 years. Our son has a complex medical and intellectual disabilities that are not well understood nor does proper programming exist for it. In 2nd grade, his deficits became more apparent and we worried the gap would continue to expand at a rate much greater than we knew he was capable of. We tried to advocate for our son on our own and were met with resistance from the school officials. Since hiring Melissa, our son now receives appropriate, individualized programming that allows him to grow and learn at his own pace. With this programming, he is making great strides. In addition to being supported within school, she has helped us navigate the world outside of school. We have qualified for disabilities, set ourselves up financially with the proper securities in place and have been able to network with the plethora of families living with similar challenges. I couldn’t be the loving and supportive parent I strive to be without allowing for a professional to support our son in an very complex and ever changing area. She is now a vital part of our support team and will be on this journey with us until adulthood. She is a life saver.
If you are reading this, you may be where I was about 10 years ago; frustrated and desperate to find a way to help your child. I highly recommend Jen Laviano as your child’s special education attorney. My only regret is that we didn’t work with Jen sooner. My son was about middle-school age when it was clear that our own efforts as parents at the PPTs over the years were simply not sufficient to effect meaningful changes in his programming. The programming was not appropriate, he was making little-to-no progress, and most concerning of all, his maladaptive behaviors continued to worsen. It was not an easy decision to hire an attorney since we didn’t want to “go there” to appear adversarial to the school. But when our son’s future was on the line, and he was going down a bad road for YEARS, there was no other logical choice for our son.
Jen and her team are compassionate, straightforward, and experts in our children’s IDEA rights and the complicated legal processes that are sometimes needed to effect the change they need for FAPE. But I can tell you as the mom of a now 22-year-old son on the autism spectrum, that all we endured (including going to due process hearing) was worth it. It was a difficult road, but ultimately our son got the treatment and education he was entitled to receive and that really turned things around for him educationally and behaviorally. Because of the efforts of Jen and her team, my son finally received the appropriate programming he needed that has made it possible for him to be on the positive and productive path he is on today.
Jennifer Laviano has been an advocate and attorney for our son D. for the past 13 years. She has been a life savior for D. and our family. Our son has an extreme case of autism with severe self injury behaviors. We have had to go into the trenches and fight for our rights against the Greenwich school system. Although D. is non verbal, Jen’s voice could be heard loud and clear for him. Without Jen’s representation and advocacy I am not sure where D. would be today. He has had many challenges throughout and Jen has handled all of this with professionalism and knowledge as well as compassion and heartfelt concern for our son. I am forever grateful for Jen and consider her family for what she has done. D. has had great progress and this is only because of the support given to him. This would’ve never happened without Jen, period. Thank you Jen and the staff for giving us the courage to fight on with us!
Jennifer Laviano is much more than a highly skilled special education attorney; she is a tireless advocate for children whose voices must be heard. If you want your lawless school district to take your case seriously then retain Jen Laviano.
Our son, J., would never have received the appropriate programming to make him an independent person in society without Jen’s ongoing help. Over the last 12 plus years, Jen has continually given us her expert advice with all the different needs in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. When we are asked to suggest someone to help with the legal needs regarding a child with disabilities, we always recommend Jen.
Jen represented our son in our case against the Westport School District with professionalism, intelligence, and compassion. She gave him the voice he lacks to protect his rights and fight indifference.
We had a really good relationship with our Planning & Placement Team of providers for our son. That was, until he was in 5th grade. We had one bad PPT, which led to another, which led to a horrendous transition PPT – the school system seemed to have stripped him of almost all of his services, including the two major functions in his life – ABA and speech therapy. Our advocate, with our permission, informed the school district at that PPT that we were going to file due process – and then we were formally introduced to Attorney Jennifer Laviano (‘Jen’).
Days later, at our initial consultation with Jen, we knew unmistakeably that we had made the correct decision. She listened to our story and agreed that filing for due process was the only way to go. She was honest and up front with us – informing us that this was going to be a very hard journey, but one that both she and we felt was absolutely necessary.
Fortunately for us, when we went to mediation, with Jen at our side, our school district apparently had a “change of heart” – and agreed with most of what we were fighting for. Jen was able to get all of his services reinstated, while also securing services for him for the next few years.
We know now, as we did then, that hiring Jen was the best thing we could have ever done for our son. He is in middle school, going through all of the transitional (and puberty) years, and every day he comes home with a smile – all because he is in an appropriate setting doing appropriate work – with a truly great teacher and a wonderful support system. And we know we owe it all to Jen!
Attorney Jennifer Laviano has the natural ability to speak to parents about their children’s educational rights in a manner that is understood by all. Her experience speaks for itself and she was very accessible which was important to us. I have recommended Jennifer to families in the past and will continue to do so in the future. She understands our kids and their needs.
I am a parent of an autistic boy. My son has been taught in a private school setting since the age of four. I first met Jen Laviano when my son was six years old. Jen had been recommended to me and had been described to as a person who really knew the special needs laws and was very well versed in the needs of an autistic person. Not only did that perfectly describe Jen but also our family found her to be kind, compassionate and very supportive of our needs. She truly became a great advocate for our son and true friend to our family. Jen helped us through the procedure of a due process with our district with great knowledge, professionalism and dedication. The expertise that Jen has in special needs helped us win our case. Her professionalism, knowledge and confidence during all of the proceedings truly gained us the placement that we needed for our son. Also, for our family, it was a great help to talk to a person who understood the needs that our son has. Her knowledge and compassion of the extra care that is required for our autistic son gave us great comfort. Jen Laviano has been a tremendous help to our son’s educational plan and we are confident that with her help we will be able to secure any needs throughout his life. We are forever grateful for all her help.
Without Jen Laviano to guide and fight for Thomas he would never have been able to obtain the education and assistance that the Gow School could offer. Unfortunately we must fight the legal battle to obtain for our children, who are learning different, their rights to a proper education with all the extras they need to function.
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