Testimonials


I have no words to say how good Sarah’s talk is. The best talk about Turning 5! Come prepared to be overwhelmed by the invaluable information and experience Sarah shares.

—Qianhua D.


Without Sarah’s sage advice, I would never have been able to navigate the labyrinth of the NYC special ed world. Largely thanks to Sarah’s recommendations and help, both of my sons will be attending great schools next year and a huge weight of worry has been lifted from my shoulders.

—Medi F.


I’ve been working with Sarah since my son was 2 (he’s 5 now) and likely will do so off and on for the years to come. Our family couldn’t have survived the different processes, all of the acronyms, the “if this, then that happens,” without her guidance. The saying “You don’t know what you don’t know” applies to every step of the special needs process in NYC and Sarah continuously armed us with the knowledge to advocate for our son.

—Grace D.


I attended your “Life After EI” seminar and I just want to thank you for the hope, inspiration and empowerment you provided to every parent in the room, especially myself. I needed all the information I learned, and I’m so grateful for the resources.

—Mary C.


Our son was having an incredibly challenging transition to middle school and we were weighing our options. Late in the school year, we were referred to Sarah by another professional. We reached out to her and in the space of one phone call, she gave us advice that helped us change everything for him. Ten minutes after we spoke with her, we had a plan of action. We were eventually able to find a new school for him that was a much better fit. Considering how late we were getting the process going, we consider the whole experience nothing short of life saving for him. I cannot emphasize this enough. And in just one 30-minute conversation, Sarah was instrumental in the life saving. So, THANK YOU SARAH!!!!

—Lisa S.


Sarah Birnbaum is a invaluable resource to parents with special needs kids. Not only does she know the system inside and out, she has gone through this experience personally and has the insight and empathy of someone who has gone through this grueling process herself. If you have a child with special needs, do not miss her Turning 5 talk!

—Meghan G.


One phone conversation with Sarah changed our lives. I cannot thank her enough for her wisdom and good sense.

—Brooke B.


Sarah Birnbaum got me through a tough year. My student was in 7th grade in a NYC public school with an IEP, but learning differences weren’t being properly acknowledged or addressed. Sarah was my guiding light. She listened. She read IEPs and educational evaluations and reports. She helped us figure out schools that might be a good fit and gave me feedback on how to make the applications shine. Sarah was super-responsive, spot-on in her insightful suggestions and recommendations, and a steady presence when things looked bleak. She pretty much kept me sane. Can’t thank her enough for being so knowledgeable and supportive!

—Amalia F.


Sarah came highly recommended from a close friend and we are so thankful for that recommendation. When we met Sarah, we were already deep into the process of finding a new school for our son – his evaluations had been completed, our school applications were submitted, and we were talking to other experts. Our questions were based on finding the appropriate school for our son. Sarah was beyond knowledgeable about the schools that were available to us, but more than that, Sarah listened to our concerns, learned about our child and family and gave us 100% honest feedback, which we needed to hear. She even squeezed us in one day when I “SOS” her; we were confused, desperate and under school admission deadlines. Her efforts, guidance and understanding were priceless. We can’t sing her praises enough.

—Kathy and Scott L.


I first heard about Sarah after my son was diagnosed with ASD and several motor planning and speech delays (he was 18 months at the time). I was overwhelmed about where and how to effectively start advocating on his behalf. Sarah is extremely knowledgeable, direct and concise with her recommendations. She knows the various options and key players in NYC and was able to give me invaluable information and guidance to point me in the right direction. Her various free talks are also amazing – she is so generous with her time and genuinely wants to help parents and children find and obtain the most appropriate resources. Now my son is heading to kindergarten next year and I’m so grateful to have had Sarah as my beacon of light throughout the process.

—Frances O.


Sarah Birnbaum is an incredible resource for parents navigating this often confusing Turning 5 and kindergarten search process. Sarah went through an amazing amount of information in her lecture and presented it all in terms we could understand. She shared a clear road map from the spring through the kindergarten application process (both public and private) and how to best prepare for the actual Turning 5 meeting.

My husband and I both attended Sarah’s Turning 5 lectures in the spring and found her guidance invaluable, often referring back to our notes to keep us on track. We also referred a lot of other parents we met to Sarah’s lecture and everyone came away grateful that they attended and grateful to Sarah for offering her much-needed services for this community. Sarah is well-respected by parents and school administrators as well as by evaluators and other experts. Her name came up again and again at every school tour as a valuable resource. Having seen her on more than one school tour, it is clear that she goes out of her way to stay informed and up to date on the latest school offerings so that her advice and guidance are timely and relevant.

As a parent of a child with special needs, it can often feel like nobody else understands all the extra hoops and hurdles you must go through to advocate for your child. Sarah not only understands but is also there to support families every step of the way and has made that education and advocacy her mission. Thank you Sarah!

—Gayle M.


I attended Sarah Birnbaum’s free talk on the Turning 5 Process last May. Thank goodness I did! The wealth of information that she shared that evening galvanized me into action. Her information and advice has proved to be invaluable during the grueling process. We still have a ways to go, but thanks to her, I was able to get all my ducks lined up at the right time and my daughter has been offered a spot at our top choice. Without Sarah’s wonderful, terrifying, hopeful and accurate information, I wouldn’t have even known where or when to start. I cannot recommend her highly enough. Thank you for sharing your expertise so generously with those of us struggling to navigate the arcane world of Special Needs in NYC.

—Melissa M.


During a particularly stressful and confusing time, Sarah provided us with much-needed clarity and information so that we could make the best choices for our child. She is beyond resourceful and compassionate, and smart as a whip. Call her, call her, call her!

—Amy B.


I was struggling to decide on the right elementary school placement for my 4-year-old son. I attended Sarah’s Turning 5 talk, which provided such an informative overview of the various options. I then scheduled a one-hour phone consult with Sarah, during which she talked me through a game plan and recommended the very best professionals to work with to achieve our educational goals. Sarah made this daunting process much more accessible and efficient. We are now in a good place in large part because of her guidance.

—Charlotte M.


Sarah was immensely helpful when I needed to make a hard decision about moving my son from a public ICT placement that clearly wasn’t working to a special education school that could fully support his learning disability and attention issues. She was very supportive, level-headed and helped me feel comfortable about the decision. She also helped me through the application process, which I cannot thank her enough for! The advice she gave in this area was spot on and he was offered a spot at our first-choice school. I would absolutely recommend Sarah to any family looking for support with their child’s education.

—Laura N.


Figuring out the best path forward for a child’s education is difficult, especially when your child has a learning disability. Sarah’s clearheaded advice and experience provided us with the guidance we needed to find the right place for our son to reach his full potential.

—Philip R.


Speaking as a parent with two special needs children, Sarah has been completely invaluable to me in navigating this often confusing and frustrating landscape. She is always available to offer advice, opinions and encouragement. I would have been lost without her!

—Meredith F.


Sarah’s Turning 5 talk made you feel like you weren’t so alone in navigating the complex world of special needs education in NYC. Armed with a treasure trove of knowledge, Sarah delivers a fantastic guide to everything a parent needs to know to start moving in the right direction to best advocate for their child. NYC special needs parents are lucky to have a resource in Sarah. Be sure to bring a notebook and a pen!

—Brian C.


I am so grateful that we went to Sarah Birnbaum’s Turning 5 talk and then worked privately with Sarah. Before meeting Sarah, the whole kindergarten transition process was confusing to us, and we had only the barest idea of how our son’s special needs would affect our process. Sarah laid out a clear picture of the special needs educational landscape and showed us exactly what we needed to do — and when — to get our son the support he needed.

While working with us, she was clear-eyed, informative, and always helpful. She gave us tips on what to expect and how to move through “the system,” recommended specialists to help with everything, gave us wonderful feedback on admissions essays, and advised us on the Turning 5 process. Thanks in large part to her help — and the help of the specialists she connected us with — we had the choice of multiple appropriate programs.

I know that without her help, we would have ended up undersupported, with services that weren’t right for our son at all. Instead, he is supported and thriving in kindergarten. I can’t say enough good things about Sarah! If you have a child with special needs and could use help navigating the educational system (what parent couldn’t??), I highly recommend working with Sarah.

—Emmeline C.


When I first found out my son had delays and would need special services, I was confused and disappointed. And when I began to learn about the process of educating a special needs child in NYC, I was enormously intimidated, to put it mildly. Attending Sarah’s lecture was not only vastly informative, it made me realize that we were not alone on our journey. She possesses great knowledge of how the system works, and she offers words of encouragement and empowerment to parents preparing to advocate for their children. Sarah’s lectures are like a beacon in a storm.

—Michael F.

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