imghomeWhen I learned my family was moving to NYC from California, I immediately panicked. I had no idea how or where to start in getting my special needs daughter into a preschool program with services. By the grace of God, someone mentioned Sarah Birnbaum to me. After speaking with her for 10 minutes, I knew she was exactly what I needed and a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. She held my hand every step of the way 6 months prior to our move to NYC and throughout the entire next year. We completed the IEP process and also the Turning Five process with Sarah. Her exceptional guidance was invaluable and I highly recommend her to anyone going through the daunting and confusing special needs process.

—Eryn M.

My son was in public school and experiencing bullying bullying and a continued lack of educational growth. And another mother mentioned she knew someone who could help. I reached out to her, and immediately knew I found someone who knew the difference between up and down. Sarah knew everything about the system, helped me understand my son’s IEP in ways I never had before (and essentially what those details meant for his future), and coached me on how to stay strong against issues we had with schooling. It was as if we had been introduced to the easiest friend we had ever made, the best friend our family could ever find in this season of our family and son’s life, and we could not be more grateful. Sarah, you are amazing! You are saving us all in so many ways. THANK YOU.

—Julia C.

Sarah is an exceptional education advisor and a lovely person. We got in touch with her in the midst of the pandemic when our son was first diagnosed, and we had no idea what to do next. Everything seemed so overwhelming, inaccessible, and vague. Thankfully another parent suggested we speak to Sarah. She has offered us invaluable advice on how to advocate for him, recommended resources, and taught us so much about the landscape of special education in NYC. Over the years she has remained a core part of our support team as we have often shared our struggles and turned to her for advice in navigating the school system and getting the support our child needs. She is kind, patient, and very responsive, and has thorough, first-hand knowledge of the system. Even though she has never met our child, we feel like she really gets him. We are so grateful to Sarah for her guidance and empathy through the years, and have gained tremendous knowledge and confidence in supporting our child. Without her we would not have felt confident in our choices or had the success in advocating for our child. For this we will be eternally grateful.

—Akanksha V.

Sarah’s Turning 5 webinar was incredibly informative. The diversity of the panelists – a mother who has been navigating the system for years, a specialized attorney, a neuropsychologist. I’ve attended other webinars and they are not as specific, or do not hone in on the types of settings available. Having various experts on the panel was beneficial to understand their roles in the process. You will walk away from this webinar with clarity of next steps and a better idea of your options.

—Shawna B.

I came into Sarah’s “Life After EI” presentation with no understanding of the process and timelines for CPSE – and having had a very late start for services through EI. I thought the presentation was informative, helpful, and even encouraging, and I appreciate that she didn’t sugarcoat things.

—Yehudis G.

Anyone navigating the special education system in NYC needs Sarah in their corner. Her webinar on the Turning 5 process finally let me breathe. She explained the process clearly and concisely, and for the first time I feel like I have an understanding of how to move forward.

—Joann D.

Sarah is extremely knowledgeable, and her webinars are a true blessing for parents. After trying to understand the turning 5 process for months, her presentation brought clarity and considerably reduced my anxiety levels. I feel more confident in every step of the process. What she does is so important, and I’m extremely grateful for it!

—Carole S.

Sarah was an indispensable guide for us through the process of finding a kindergarten for our son. Every conversation with her proved incredibly useful and thanks to her, our son got into a great school and a great program. We highly recommend her services and have sent several friends her way.

—Daniel B.

A paragraph is not enough to express how grateful I am to Sarah. I was completely at sea before I found her, and she put us on the path to better understanding and supporting our child. Sarah has guided us through the CPSE and Turning 5 processes, while connecting us with amazing specialists and providing logistical and emotional support that only someone who has been through it before can. Part expert, part fellow-parent, and part therapist, Sarah is patient, supportive, and endlessly knowledgeable. She is the reason I have been able to successfully advocate for our child so far, and she can expect to be hearing from me for years to come!

—Alaina W.

As a parent of a special needs child who is about to enter the NYC public school system, I found the information in Sarah’s Turning 5 webinar invaluable. There were so many aspects of the process of finding the right school for my child I was unaware of. The webinar presented the combined knowledge and experience of an educational consultant, pediatric neuropsychologist, and education attorney, providing a detailed overview of how to optimize my child’s educational opportunities in New York City. The next steps are much clearer now. Thank you for this amazingly informative talk!

—Michael H.

Sarah’s knowledge, guidance and empathy are hands down the reason that our son is where he’s at today. We adopted our son at the age of 3.5 and the realities and complexities of navigating school and services for a special needs child in NYC came down on us like a ton of bricks; we had to move from 0 to 100 in a matter of months. I came into my conversation with Sarah knowing nothing about how to advocate for my son. She’s helped us to navigate the CPSE process and our son is thriving in Pre-K, with the right support. We just wrapped up our T5 process with an incredible school placement that is absolutely the right one for our kid – without Sarah I wouldn’t have even known this option existed for us, much less been able to pull off a feat most people told us was impossible. Sarah’s help has undoubtedly changed our son’s life.

—Rebecca L.

Sarah Birnbaum’s Turning 5 webinar is an absolutely essential guide for parents with kids with disabilities. She manages to cut through all the noise and deliver a clear and concise overview of how to navigate the complexities of the New York City education system.

—Abdul A.

Sarah’s Turning 5 talk was super informative. She broke down the (insanely overwhelming) Turning 5 process into simpler language that was easier to digest. I feel like I have an understanding of what our next steps should be, and am equipped with resources to help me get there. Thank you for taking the time to share your wealth of knowledge with our families!

—Maria D.

I can’t say enough good things about Sarah. She introduced me to the world of special needs, not just as an expert, but also as a fellow parent, full of understanding and comfort. She gave me both general guidance overall and specific instructions for particular tasks as needed. She is not only knowledgeable but also honest and kind, always looking to help me save money in this very expensive process, even from herself! She is an amazing advocate and ally, but an even better person, and any kid or parent would be lucky to have her in their corner.

—Marie W.

Sarah is genuinely kind-hearted, extremely knowledgeable, and passionate about what she does to help parents like me who are overwhelmed with ensuring our kids receive the appropriate services and school placement. She explained the process to me clearly and provided valuable information and professional advice. I definitely recommend her! I am truly grateful for all her efforts. Thank you so much, Sarah!

—Sith A.

At Sarah’s Turning 5 webinar, I really appreciated how direct and encouraging she was. Her presentation was easy to follow and filled with moments that parents in her audience all have experienced. Those “gut feeling if your child” prompts forced me to be honest with myself in ways that I tend to avoid.

—Vanessa M.

When my son was diagnosed with ASD, it took me by surprise. I had absolutely no idea how to navigate the special ed system in NY – it was literally like learning a new language. I’ll never forget going to Sarah’s “Life After EI” talk. Not only was it informative, clear, and comprehensive, but she stayed to answer every last question submitted by attendees – including the ten or so that I had scrawled on my index card. Over the years, through endless school drama, the madness of the Turning 5 process, and the confusion of the pandemic, I have turned to Sarah for guidance (and reassurance) and have greatly benefited from her wisdom and expertise. She is grounded, compassionate, and knows what works. You can trust her recommendations implicitly and know that she brings years of experience – both personal and professional – to every interaction. Sarah, I don’t know what the special needs community would do without you! Thank you for helping us and so many others make difficult decisions, understand complex issues, and help our amazing children thrive.

—Anne L.

I was nearly in tears trying to navigate the special education process until I found Sarah. After placing my son in various public and private settings in the last few years, I had no idea what schools to apply to for kindergarten. Sarah is amazing and her knowledge on schools is extensive. In the span of only a few weeks, I went from not knowing where to begin to having a solid plan, narrowing down the right schools and which people to reach out to for the application process. Sarah’s support and compassion were invaluable every step of the way. She is very responsive and there when you need her the most. Now that we got our son into a school that we’re ecstatic about, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Sarah for help!!

—Susie K.

I was completely new to the Turning 5 process and did not know what to expect, but I knew what I wanted and needed for my son. I spoke with Sarah, who was so thorough in reading my son’s evaluations and reports beforehand, and talked through how to approach the meeting. The insights and “homework” she gave me were so critical to getting what I needed for my son. I would have had no idea what to do otherwise, and we brainstormed through how to accomplish what my son needed. As a result my T5 meeting was a success! I have always had to advocate alone for my child, and this was the first time I’ve felt like I had someone else advocating with me. I can’t say enough about Sarah’s knowledge and her help. My son will forever be in her debt, as will I.

—Marisa R.

We were at a loss when our son experienced difficulty at preschool. A thorough evaluation revealed issues with attention and hyperactivity, and the psychologist recommended three schools which are really competitive and hard to get into. We contacted Sarah and asked for help. Sarah really “got” our son and helped us through the process. Thanks to her expert advice and guidance, our son got into all three schools! She even helped us choose from among them at the end (a great problem to have). Thank you for everything, Sarah.

—Joe F.

Sarah is hands down the best special needs education consultant in the NYC area. Her wealth of knowledge is uncanny. Her talks on the Turning 5 process are excellent and I learn something new every time I listen to it. Most importantly, I feel so comfortable talking to her and reviewing all possible options for my special needs child, as she is a special needs parent herself and completely understands where you’re coming from.

—Jane T.

After it was suggested I should apply for an IEP for my son, a friend recommended I attend Sarah’s Turning 5 information session. Immediately after the session, I emailed Sarah to ask if she could support me. My son was starting kindergarten in 3 months, and I needed a quick turn around. Sarah was so helpful from the moment we starting speaking. She guided me as I worked through every step of the process, she listened to my concerns, presented realistic options, and supported me as I prepared for my Turning 5 meeting. Thanks to Sarah’s support, I was able to get all the services I needed two months after I started the process. A huge weight has been lifted and I am beyond grateful I had Sarah as my guide.

—Amy R.

Sarah Birnbaum is a unique and incredibly knowledgeable guide for navigating the extremely complicated special-education system in New York City. She has tremendous all-round knowledge of the system and a massive network that encompasses all the different professionals involved. Sarah advised us on the steps we needed to take to get clarity on our child’s diagnosis, the vast options of schools and systems that are available and how to approach IEP meetings and school visits. We would strongly advise anyone who has to go on this journey to work with Sarah as your guide.

—Boaz A.

Sarah’s expertise is unparalleled. Her engaging presentation about Turning Five was the single most important thing I’ve encountered in dealing with my son’s schooling and needs. I’ve read books on the subject, joined all sorts of Facebook groups and regularly reach out to/speak to parents of neurodivergent kids here in NYC. Nothing has come close to her knowledge, expertise and ease of clearly communicating the important factors that parents like me should be aware of. Thank you Sarah for saving me countless hours and keeping me sane in this challenging process.

—Dominika J.

Prior to attending Sarah’s invaluable Turning 5 talk, I was thoroughly and completely overwhelmed. Since attending that talk several years ago, our family has relied on Sarah’s tremendous experience, knowledge, wisdom and generosity to navigate the complex world of NYC schooling for our special needs child. Sarah is truly the best at what she does, with great know-how, authenticity and kindness.

—Elizabeth R.

Sarah was invaluable to us as we navigated the middle school search and application process for our son. We did plenty of research on our own about each of the schools, attended virtual open houses, and got wonderful guidance from his current school. But it was so helpful to have another perspective from someone who knows so much about each of the schools and was straightforward about how they might be a fit for our son. Sarah was also super easy to work with, was open to all of our questions, and gave constructive (and quick) feedback that helped improve our applications. We’re very happy with the school we accepted and feel confident in our choice given our work with Sarah – we highly recommend her.

—Katie Z.

I attended a webinar that Sarah hosted and it was the first time I felt like I was speaking to someone who “got it” from all aspects – she has the parent perspective and the expertise in navigating the system that everyone can benefit from. I only wish I had connected with her a year ago! It would’ve made a huge difference in the way I advocated for my son.

—Uchita S.

In addition to her other guidance, Sarah Birnbaum provides free informative webinars on how to obtain special needs services for children in NYC. The one webinar I’ve attended so far was simply amazing; it illuminated previously murky aspects of the process and pointedly addressed many of the questions and anxieties I had (and that I’m sure many parents share). I even connected with other parents of special needs children thanks to Sarah! She is an incredible asset to the NYC special needs community.

—Ruth R.

I found your workshops incredibly helpful!!! I recommend them to EVERYONE! You are doing incredible work and I thank you for it.

—Alessandra D.

Attending one of Sarah’s free webinars was the most important thing I have done for my child’s future. I contacted Sarah right after the webinar for further assistance and she responded immediately without asking for anything in return. I cannot be more thankful for Sarah. She provides the knowledge and advice about the Turning 5 process that schools fail to deliver. Her guidance is what parents need in order to navigate the complicated process of special education.

—Brunilda M.

Sarah’s Turning 5 webinar is very informative, providing a general framework as well as detailed steps about how to find the most appropriate education for kids with special needs. I went to Sarah’s Life After EI workshop right before the pandemic hit, many months ago. I feel so grateful that there is someone who is always there for us parents with special kids. THANK YOU, Sarah.

—Amber J.

Sarah has been nothing short of amazing in helping me navigate the treacherous and anxiety-filled waters of special ed. As a parent sorting through a lot of details and often multiple different entities (DOE, neuropsychs, schools, Oh My!), it was so essential to have someone to hold my hand and advise me through it all, keeping me in the know and CALM. Whether it was a 15-minute call to talk me off the ledge or helping me work on applications and prep for interviews, Sarah was the glue that kept my world together! She is a magical unicorn who somehow knows every part of this process at every life stage – how? I have no clue! I wish I knew her when my son was 4, but thankfully we spent the last year navigating middle schools like a Boss.

—Sandi H.

Sarah’s “Life After EI” workshop guides you on navigating the transition from EI to CPSE not only from an organizational and administrative standpoint, but also an emotional one. She acknowledges and prepares you for all of the challenges and wins you might face along the way, and ensures that you feel truly prepared for the next stage of the process. This workshop is a must if you wish to be an advocate for your child and yourself along the way.

—Ashley C.

I have been a preschool teacher for 20 years and am currently a SEIT. Having gathered info over the years from different sources, directors, DOE representatives, and webinars and tutorials, Sarah’s Turning 5 presentation is the MOST informative, step by step, coordinated, well-structured info I have ever heard! It is as if she took all the bits and pieces of knowledge I had and put it all together coherently and in the simplest language! Bravo! And thank you soooo much.

—Marina F.

You know the angel on your shoulder that you are always looking for in tough situations you find yourself as parents? Well I found one, and her name is Sarah Birnbaum. When I was told my child would need special services, I was shocked and then scared. I did not know what to do or where to start. Sarah was the answer. From the beginning, Sarah gave us the guidance, knowledge, tools and the empowerment to help us provide our child the services she required. Sarah holds a seminar where she sheds the light on every aspect of the Turning 5 process from schools, to doctors and other experts parents will require to fight for our child’s rights. Sarah Birnbaum also provides a very unique point of view as she is also the parent of a child with special needs and has gone through not only the motions and procedures of the entire process, but also the distress and emotional toll. Sarah truly understands your situation and has studied, learned and created a support system for parents dealing with the daunting process of the New York City Department of Education. Sarah is an exceptional professional with knowledge and skill that is invaluable to you as a parent, but I feel her greatest attribute is the ability to show compassion and grace rarely seen in a person. This attribute can not be taught. This comes from within from one parent to another. If you are a parent of a child that has special needs in New York, you will need knowledge, guidance and direction. Sarah Birnbaum has all the resources to give you the tools to fight for your child. I can not thank her enough for the help she gave my family and the strength she possesses to continue to help families all over the city.

—Bill K.

I was blessed to have heard about Sarah from another special needs parent at a soccer program. I immediately sought her out and made the necessary arrangements to attend her talk. The information I received was so valuable. I was able to follow her lead and successfully found my son an appropriate kindergarten placement. Had I not been to her presentation, I would not have known any of these things exist. Thanks a trillion Sarah! Keep spreading the word.

—Nicole D.

We started working with Sarah after several years of our son getting denied special education services from the New York City Department of Education. Through trial and error of navigating the system alone, we learned we needed someone who could guide us in the IEP process and help us build the skills necessary to advocate for our child in an effective way. Sarah was the support we needed. She was honest, direct, thorough, and extremely helpful in prepping us for long journey ahead. We did get an IEP for our son, but we had a long way to go to get him the supports he really needed. Each year we continued to push and hold the school accountable to their obligations of educating our child. Recently, we called on Sarah to help us identify the best special education middle schools for our son and the steps to take to solidify placement. Sarah suggested we reach out to schools immediately, even though we did not have our applications in, to introduce ourselves and tell them about our son. Literally, we got off the phone, called our first choice school, and got the ball rolling. It was that conversation that led to our son getting admitted for the fall. Sarah has played a tremendously valuable role in our journey to get the services our son needs and deserves. We will always be grateful for her care and hard work in fighting the hard fight alongside us.

—Marc F.

Sarah is a lifesaver. NYC has many good options for special needs kids, but an incredibly complex system for making it happen. The schools have various and specific requirements, and one needs to understand all the different processes. We had so many questions, and Sarah had so many answers. We highly recommend reaching out to her and will tell everyone we know.

—Benjamin J.

I attended Sarah’s Turning 5 workshop when my daughter was 4, and it was very informative. But she became really invaluable to us when I sought her consultation after our neuropsych evaluation pointed us towards the world of special ed schools. At the end of the meeting with her, I had a clear plan that I started executing right away, from finding the right experts, to guidance on school applications, and more! She was always available on short notice, by email/phone/zoom. She not only guided us through it all, but also cheered me on so I could continue fighting for what our daughter needed. Thank you, Sarah!

—Sila A.

I heard about Sarah Birnbaum from a friend. I emailed her when my son was 2 years old for a consult, and I could instantly tell that she was very knowledgeable, resourceful and reliable. My son is turning 5 soon and Sarah was there to guide us through the whole process. She walked us through every step. She made herself available when we needed her guidance, even during the holidays. We are very grateful!

—Mary Z.

When we got the news that our son was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, we were devastated, at a loss and on an emotional roller coaster ride. We didn’t even know where to begin with the schools, the process and just how to help our son. And then a friend recommended Sarah. Within minutes of speaking, I finally felt for the first time I could breathe as there was someone who could help us navigate all that was ahead of us. Sarah was a calming force, understanding and a wealth of knowledge. She was open with her own experience and could relate as a parent. We are so grateful for her support during this time!! Highly highly recommend Sarah!

—Linda H.

We were referred to Sarah by a friend and I have already referred her to multiple other friends with the text message of: Call her ASAP!!! While we were speaking for the first time, I felt my body unclenching for the first time in months – I knew that with her guidance we would be able to find a great school for our kid and finally understand the overwhelming process of leaving the public school system. She helped us gain our footing when we were just starting the process, and knowing we can call her back at any time is like having a pep talk in our pocket.

—Rebecca S.

Sarah’s Turning 5 webinar was not only extremely informative, but also comforting. Her presentation was well organized and detailed. Sarah possesses the unique ability to provide vital information in a direct and straightforward manner while still maintaining empathy and compassion. She helped reduce my anxiety about the whole Turning 5 process and for that I am grateful.

—Christine H.

I attended Sarah’s Life After EI and Turning 5 presentations. Attending these two free presentations has been so much more efficient than searching around endlessly on the internet, looking for helpful bits and pieces of useful information. The presentations made me feel much more in the know about the needlessly confusing and poorly explained process of navigating early education for a child on the spectrum in NYC. Moreover, there’s something about Sarah’s tone that is just so empathetic and reassuring. I get the feeling she not only knows what I’m going through, but truly cares and wants to help.

—Dorothy L.

We were referred to Sarah when we started looking for schools for our newly diagnosed ASD and ADHD son. This was a new world for us, but Sarah helped us figure out a list of appropriate schools and guide our strategy. Sarah understands the NYC public and private school system as well as each child’s individual needs acutely, and we are very grateful.

—Ami S.

Thank you so much for last night’s Life After EI talk! I found it super helpful. You are so knowledgeable and it eased my anxiety about the whole process.

—Samantha S.

We attended Sarah’s “Life after EI” webinar. Not only was it extremely informative, but it gave us a roadmap as we transition out of Early Intervention and into the next phase of education. Thank you Sarah!

—Andrew M.

Sarah Birnbaum’s “Life After EI” answered questions I didn’t even know I had. It would have been near impossible to compile and research everything she covered in two short hours! I felt much better equipped to help my child after attending the talk.

—Olga K.

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