Seetha Burtner is an exceptional educational advocate. She worked with us for three years and succeeded in getting our autistic son out-of-district and into a specialized school. Prior to hiring Seetha, my husband and I had been fighting the Somerville Public School district for better services for our son Michael who had made very little progress. As an educator, I thought advocating for our son would be an easy task as I am familiar with special education policies, but I soon found out we were fighting an uphill battle.
When we brought Seetha on board, everything changed for the better. She prepared us for EVERY Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) meeting and advised us on what to ask for at the meetings, and why. She helped us participate effectively at the meetings and advocated for our son with the team.
In our first IEP meeting with Seetha, we found a huge change in our son’s team’s attitude. Seetha was very well prepared for every meeting, paid attention to every little detail and secured needed services (speech therapy, occupational therapy, and home based ABA therapy) for our son.
When we finally secured out-of-district placement, Seetha visited potential schools with my husband and me and advised us on how to choose an appropriate school for our son. Because of Seetha’s dedication and hard work, our son Michael is in a much better place today and has made amazing progress in all areas. We highly recommend Seetha Burtner to any parent or guardian who is in need of an advocate.
Addy and Liam Mannion, Special Education Parents, Somerville, MA
Seetha worked tirelessly on behalf of my daughter who was diagnosed with ASD and ADHD. Her levels of experience and training was particularly helpful for our family who had difficulty understanding the special education rules and also had great trouble getting services for our daughter from our school district. Her mastery of advocacy knowledge and skills helped us understand and participate in the special education process. She was able to assist our family from behind the scenes to being very involved in obtaining our daughter’s special education services.
Seetha understands the federal and state laws pertaining to special education services and knows policies and procedures used in many different school districts. She is excellent at explaining the laws and policies to you in a way you can understand. She is also familiar with different kinds of assessments and reports, so that she can explain them to you, and even recommend a type of assessment that might be helpful to obtain. She also can help you prepare for meetings related to your child’s special education program – especially meetings to discuss reevaluations and IEPs.
Without Seetha accompanying us to district meetings and assisting in the negotiations between us and the school our daughter would not have been placed in a therapeutic setting. I strongly recommend choosing Seetha as your Special Education Advocate. I truly believe she is one of the best things that came into our lives!
I was fortunate to contact Dr. Burtner. The information I learned was invaluable. I received an education in to his rights and our rights as parents. Had I known about other schools, his rights, their obligations, I would have handled the situation much differently. The school will never tell you this stuff. She asked for my sons reports, and many other items she thought were pertinent and spent the time reading and speaking to me. Her knowledge was incredible and her assessments were like she knew my son. I felt like we were in good hands finally. She came to the meeting with notes prepared and really knew what to ask for. Her poise, tact and intelligence was evident and her points couldn’t be refuted. After the meeting I left feeling like I couldn’t have done better by my son by contacting her and I would not have gotten the results we did at that meeting if I went alone. As a parent you worry if you are making the best decisions and choices for your child. You fight with reason and you fight with your instincts. I felt confident and at ease that my son is getting the testing, observations ands direction appropriate for him finally. If you are a parent who feels like something isn’t right, something is being missed, what should I do? Remember you don’t know what you don’t know! I didn’t. Dr. Burtner will educate you and leave you feeling like you did the best possible job for your child and maybe wishing you knew her 2 years ago like I do.
Our 8 1/2 year old son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which is a diagnosis that falls under Autism Spectrum Disorders and is non verbal. My husband and I never realized the power of our voices and the power of our signatures before we met Seetha. Before we reached out to an advocate we had no idea how to exercise our rights, how to properly read and interpret an IEP and what steps to take to reject an IEP. Seetha hasn’t just advocated for our son to receive the education he deserves, she taught us how to fight for him in a way that gets results. Going to IEP meetings before was intimidating. It’s 4 or 5 faculty members of your child’s “team” and you. We never felt like we were in control of the meeting. As parents we are so emotionally invested in our kids it’s sometimes hard to verbalize your hopes and concerns clearly. Seetha validated our feelings and concerns and helped us to be our son’s voice.
I highly recommend Seetha Burtner. She’s extremely knowledgable, level headed, and effective! I had her go over both my children’s IEPs and found it really helpful – good tips as well as just peace of mind. I’m recommending her based on my professional experience with her and the help she gave me on my son’s IEP. Just as an example, there was an accommodation I wanted on his IEP. During the annual meeting, I made my request, and my liaison basically said, “absolutely not.” I took the issue to Seetha, who word-smithed what I wanted in such a way that the liaison then said, “OK, I can add that.”
I have a 13 y.o diagnosed with ASD and ADHD at age 3. I am from a culture where these symptoms are not recognized, so it took me time to accept his condition. I never believed the service delivery offered by the team worked toward progress for my son, and every grade was a step back. I am a resilient mother who was never discouraged. However, I didn’t have the right tools to fight against the system until Seetha Burtner came my way. She took my case and my son’s interests as her own. She was my voice and she had my back. She is very knowledgeable and she never quit until her request was honored. She was a gift to my life. I feel very confident when she is at my side, and I try to make sure of her presence in every meeting. Today, after eleven years of fighting for the right services and placement, my son will be attending an ASD program this fall. I feel peace and comfort knowing that my son will be starting this new program that will work toward his success. My fees and my thanks seem so small compare to all she have done, but, my testimony is from my heart.
My family and I had the privilege of working with Seetha who recently helped us navigate the often-stormy bureaucracy around assuring that our daughter received all the necessary services for her Emotional Disability which ultimately resulted in an out-of-district placement at a private therapeutic day school. Seetha not only did a thorough, thoughtful, and organized review of all the necessary documents but she was very helpful in providing us with the all of the knowledge and confidence we needed in order to move forward. This, in turn, helped us to feel very empowered ourselves when advocating for our daughters’ needs. Seetha is not only a strong advocate with exceptional interpersonal skills at meetings, she is also very kind and patient and I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend her services to anyone!
Seetha is professional, prompt, and a life saver. She helps you navigate the laws for IEP’s and other services, and assists you through the meetings with your child’s school so that they can have the proper support and what they rightfully deserve. She is fair and she also teaches you, as the parent, how to navigate and advocate for your child in the future. She is wonderful and highly recommended!
After arguing for months with the school district to have my son placed in another school. I hired Seetha to advocative on his behalf. She came to his IEP meeting. Within a short amount of time she arranged a meeting with a team of psychiatrists and psychologists from a therapeutic school to have my child evaluated. They were professional kind and very compassionate to his needs. They helped us locate a school with more therapeutic therapy. Seetha was unbelievable helpful throughout this very trying time. She responded promptly to all my phone calls emails and texts. Thanks to Seetha my son has started in a new school which caters to his needs. She is outstanding. Thank you.
Seetha was a tremendous help in advocating for our son in his elementary school. She researched his needs and located just the right research study to show the school team how to address his academic needs. During the meeting at the school, she was professional and friendly, but also direct and assertive when advocating for what our son needed. She asks the “hard questions.” I can’t thank her enough for her help in getting a plan of study and support in place for our son. We will gladly hire her again should the need arise.
Thank you so much for your help, you have really done an awesome job I couldn’t have had anyone better to get us to where we are, I owe you a huge thank you for your time that you have spent on my son, you learned everything about him in such little time and did such an amazing job at all the meetings, I wish I could have had you sooner. I’m hoping this is [son’s] year and he makes good changes, he wouldn’t be where he is without you!!!! I know so much more now then I did before I met you and I thank you for educating me as well!!!!!