Carol Silva is the founder of Guided IEP Solutions. She is the mother of 2 children, Jake (14), Adeline (11). Carol came to the world of advocacy when her oldest child, Jake was diagnosed with a severe learning disability, NVLD and ADHD at an early age. Following years of research and navigating the IEP process, two things became clear. First, most parents are ill-equipped to navigate the world of special education due to its terminology and complexity. Second, even for the most well-informed, it remains extremely difficult to stay objective while advocating for your own child. After years of learning the ins and outs of advocacy, Carol successfully won an out-of-district placement for her son. In addition to her own children, Tyler, a cousin from Virginia, came to live with Carol and her family in the spring of 2015. After years of struggling with a learning disability and dropping out of high school. Carol was able to successfully secure appropriate services for him, earning him a high school diploma in the spring of 2017.
Originally what started out as her obligation, soon became her passion. She began researching the laws dealing with special education and assisting friends and family as they advocated for their children. After seeing the success her friends and family were having as a result of her advice, she was encouraged to pursue the world of advocacy with more vigor and purpose, in an effort to create success stories for other children in need.
Carol received her formal training from the Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN) and ISEA at William and Mary Law School. Immediately following her formal training, she stayed on with FCSN as a regular volunteer and begun working with families on a pro bono basis.
As she built her private practice she remained mindful of the imbalance between the resources of the public schools against the resources of low income families. As a result she has dedicated a portion of her practice to assisting low income families.
Today she splits her time between training new advocates and helping families as the Call Center Coordinator at FCSN and working privately advocating for families of special needs children.
With the ever changing laws she is continuously participating in continuing education and professional development workshops. She is a current member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPPA) and a BOD member for the Special Needs Advocacy Network (SPaN).
Carol’s personal experience with special needs gives her the compassion and tenacity to be a strong advocate. Her training gives her the know-how. These attributes combined with her natural ability to listen, organize, build and maintain interpersonal skills and, most importantly, her capacity to remain focused and level headed has made her a natural fit for the world of advocacy.