What is the Lay Educational Advocacy Project?

The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council (MODDC) in partnership with Missouri Family to Family (MoF2F), Family Advocacy and Community Training (F.A.C.T.), Missouri Protection and Advocacy (MoP&A) and Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM) are offering an intensive training to help educate families and self-advocates on their rights under Special Education law as well as the best way to advocate within the school system.

This FREE training is offered in two parts, and participants who complete all requirements are awarded a certification as a Lay Educational Advocate.  Completion of this certification will help you to be a become a better advocate, prepare you to work with other Missouri families and provide you with a chance to become part of a larger network, educating families across the state on best practices in educational advocacy.

The Lay Educational Advocacy Training Program Includes:

Foundational Two-Day Training:

The Foundational Two-Day Training is an introduction to the basics that are needed to effectively lead parents and students in advocacy in the educational setting.  It will provide an overview of basic advocacy skills, application in the educational setting, the foundational concepts of an IEP, and post- secondary transition planning.  Upon completion of the two-day training, trainees will be awarded a certificate of completion and ability to move forward in the L.E.A.P. training program. 

40-hour Practicum with Mentoring:

Completion of a 40-hour practicum is included in the L.E.A.P. training program.  The practicum is to include experiences in various educational meetings and settings such as a Records Review, Parent/Student Strategy Meeting or an I.E.P.  Trainees will be able to receive mentoring during their 40-hour practicum by experts through the Missouri Educational Advocacy Network.

Advanced One-Day Training:

The Advanced One-Day Training can be taken any time after the completion of the Foundational Two-Day Training.  This second training covers advanced topics such as using critical thinking for Special Education Advocacy, Section 504, Procedural Safeguards and more.  Dates for the Advanced One-Day Training are shared upon the completion of the Foundational Two-Day Training.


Upcoming Foundational Trainings

Currently, all trainings have been moved to an online format.   

However, if you are interested in participating as an in-person Community Host Site, click HERE for more information. 

Opportunities to participate in this training are ongoing.

Seats are limited so please register as soon as you can. Registration closes one week prior to the event. 

For questions, contact us at moleapnetwork@gmail.com

Learn from our team of Advocacy Experts
Karen Cooper


Training Specialist

Family Advocacy and Community Training


I am the mother of two; Sam and Sarah. Sam was diagnosed as language-delayed at 3 years old and received services starting in pre-school. He was later diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. It was very difficult finding the right services and supports for Sam. F.A.C.T. taught me that I needed to educate myself to be the best advocate for my child. I am passionate about sharing knowledge and empowering parents to advocate for their children and realize their best lives.

Head shot of a woman with blonde hair smiling, She is wearing a yellow dress with flowers


Advocacy Supervisor

Family Advocacy and Community Training


I am the mother of four adult children; two boys and two girls.  I spent many years advocating for my sons who both struggled in school with ADHD and learning disabilities.  Often times, I felt alone and unsure of the choices I was making for them and their education.  I found FACT when my youngest son was in high school.  My advocate helped me feel that I was not alone.  I joined the FACT team in 2013 as an Educational Advocate.  It was important for me to be able to share my journey and empower families by giving them the tools they need to be able to effectively advocate for their own child.  As the Advocacy Supervisor, it is equally important for me to assist my team in providing quality services to our FACT families. 

Handy Highlights

Answers To Your Toughest Questions, When You Need Them

Access The Curriculum Here!

L.E.A.P. Training is based on curriculum developed by Legal Services of Eastern Missouri

What is a Certified Missouri Lay Educational Advocate?

Families and individuals navigating the confusing Special Education system often feel lost, alone and outnumbered when it comes to being able to make their needs and wants known when in educational meetings such as an IEP or Section 504 planning meeting. A Certified Missouri Lay Educational Advocate will have the knowledge and skills needed to assist families and individuals with preparation for, as well as during educational meeting settings. 

Certification as a Missouri Lay Educational Advocate can be obtained by completing the following requirements:   

  • Attending the foundational, 2-day training
  • Completing 40 contact hours with families and/or individuals, mentored by experts in the field
  • Attending the one day follow up training

More information will be provided at the training or can be obtained by emailing moleapnetwork@gmail.com

Our Partners
Funded by
Funding for the Lay Educational Advocacy Project provided by the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council (MODDC), Grants #1801MOBSDD Seq. No.: 2018 / 4, #1901MOSCDD-02, #2001MOSCDD-02 and as authorized by Public Law 106-402 – Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act).