Valerie Aprahamian’s Biography

 

UntitledValerie Aprahamian is a veteran advocate and adviser for parents of children with special educational needs.  She has been providing assistance to families throughout Southern California for more than 15 years.

Valerie has presented inclusion workshops and provided presentations on IDEA through Biola College teacher conference, Riverside Community College Child Development Conference (keynote speaker), Corona Norco Unified School District Special Education Conference, Fullerton Unified School District Special Education Conference, Inland Regional Center Inclusion Workshop, Orange County Regional Center Conference, Inland Empire Autism Society Conference, High Desert Autism Society Workshop (keynote speaker), Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) (keynote speaker), Canyon Hills Friends Church, Olive Branch Community Church, Crossroads Christian Church Parent Encouraging Parents Support Group, Crossroads Community Church Beyond Limits Disabilities Conference, and Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS).

Valerie has taught special education law regarding parental rights and responsibilities for 10 years through From Emotions to Advocacy (FETA) meetings.  She facilitated a parent support group which provided support to marriages of parents of children with special needs for more than 8 years.  Valerie has taught a special needs yoga class for the past 2 years.  All of which Valerie founded and facilitated; her FETA meetings, Parent Support Group meetings and Special Needs Yoga Class are provided as a community outreach at no cost to parents.

Valerie’s professional affiliations include: member of Council of Parents Attorneys and Advocates (COPPA), Vice President of Corona/Norco CAC, Board member of Riverside Community College Child Development Department, member of Soroptimist International Corona, Board member of MOPS International, Board member of Women’s Ministries Canyon Hills Friends Church, Disabilities Director Olive Branch Community Church.

Over the past 15 years, Valerie’s extensive experience as an inclusion advocate has earned her the reputation of a respected and knowledgeable advocate with school district administrators throughout Southern California.  She is a skilled mediator in negotiating the rights of teachers and the rights of parents and students in the development of an appropriate IEP.  She is able to navigate through unresolved disputes that parents and district administrators have experienced in past IEP meetings.  By educating parents and advocating for the child through the IEP process, Valerie holds a high success rate in negotiating appropriate supports, services and placement for the special needs student.

Valerie has a credential from the William and Mary University Special Education Law Institute.

Valerie has a credential from the William and Mary University Special Education Law Institute.

Valerie’s career as special needs advocate began with the birth of her first daughter, Jessica.  Jessica was diagnosed with ADD at age 4 and then diagnosed with bi-polar disorder at age 13 and seizure disorder at the age of 17.  Jessica’s needs qualified her as a client of the Regional Center.  As an adult, Jessica’s services included vocational training, behavioral intervention, and group home placement with supports and services.  Jessica’s needs opened the door for Valerie to educate herself on the Lanterman Act (Welfare and Institutions Code) and gave her the opportunity to gain experience in the Appeal and Mediation process in the development of an appropriate IPP with Regional Center Services.

Valerie’s second daughter, Chanel, was diagnosed with Autism and Seizure Disorder at the age of 3 years old.  Valerie developed the skills and knowledge necessary for Chanel to receive all supports and services for her to be successful in her educational career which enabled Chanel to achieve a high school diploma.  Chanel’s IEP provided her a fully included educational program from 1st grade through high school.  This means that Chanel was educated alongside her typical developing peers.  It is Valerie’s belief that an inclusive model is the key to Chanel’s success as a student and as an individual who now functions at a high level of independence in her daily life.  Chanel presently attends the vocational training program for extended education after high school through her local school district.

Chanel’s diagnosis also gave her eligibility for services through the Regional Center.  These services include IHSS (In Home Supportive Services).  Chanel’s need for this service gave Valerie the ability to learn the expertise of the IHSS due process.  Valerie has been successful in assisting many other families in obtaining IHSS services for their child as a client of the Regional Center under the Medical Waiver Program.  To learn more about IHSS, go to the IHSS tab on Valerie’s Home Page.

As a mother raising Jessica and Chanel, Valerie has educated herself to be a successful parent advocate in working with the Early Start Program (0-3), then navigating through School District age (3-22), and then continued advocacy on through adult services with Regional Center which include IHSS (In Home Support Services).

This personal experience has given Valerie a unique perspective which enables her to understand parents.  Valerie can relate to you as a parent in your situation because she shares in your same experience.  Her story which began so many years ago, has provided her with the motivation to become a professional advocate and realize her purpose: To encourage parents to own their role as the parent of a special needs child by empowering them with the knowledge they need to meet the needs of their child.

Because of her journey as a mother to both Jessica and Chanel, Valerie created her advocacy agency and has been working as an inclusion advocate for more than 15 years representing families to develop inclusion and transition services for their special needs child.  She is the founder and President of “Advocates for Angels” which is an advocacy agency that provides consultants to assist families in navigating through the legal process of developing programs with disabilities agencies and school districts in the Southern California area.

Leave a Comment