I am a foreigner with a son with special needs. So, to say that I was lost is an understatement. But hiring Sarah was, hands down, the best decision I made during this difficult process. Her knowledge is truly impressive, and she is also very caring and compassionate.

—Aida D.

When navigating the confusing fog that is the Turning 5 process, Sarah helped us with her extensive knowledge, insight, instincts and moxie. Understanding New York City schools and the services that they provide for children with special needs is not for the faint of heart. We will be forever grateful for the guidance that Sarah provided in helping us determine how best to help our son. She’s spectacular.

—Jessica S.

Facing the new reality of being a special needs parent was overwhelming. It was all happening so fast as we were beginning Early Intervention therapy only a few months shy of our child’s third birthday. Talking to Sarah made all the difference in helping to catch up on all we needed to know and strategize next steps for CPSE.

After visiting many, many center-based programs, Sarah was instrumental as we waded through the pros/cons for each to make our final decision. I would often refer to Sarah as “my therapist” during this time. Sarah was also key in prepping for our CPSE meetings. She is stellar at predicting what district administrators would say and prepared us well with solid documentation and advocacy that was specific to our child. Largely because of Sarah, we now have an excellent set of services that we know will be an enormous benefit to our child’s development over the coming year.

—Betty F.

I knew I wanted Sarah to be our special needs advocate from my very first consultation with her. She gave me great information and put me on the path to getting my son the help that he desperately needed. Sarah has made a huge difference in our lives as our advocate. It is because of Sarah that we finally had our son evaluated, and as a result, he was diagnosed with autism.

Sarah is very resourceful and has always put me in touch with some great people who have been a huge help as well. Sarah’s knowledge of the NYC special education system has been of great value. She gave me the tools and knowledge to feel empowered and advocate effectively for my son. She opened my eyes to a whole new world within the world of being a special needs family that I had no idea existed. I will always be grateful for how she has helped my son and highly recommend her to any parent of a special needs child who needs help, guidance, and a listening ear.

—Kpana K.

Sarah is an incredibly calm, patient and knowledgeable resource for anyone exploring the special needs process for their child. We were confused about the correct setting and Sarah took the time to meet our child. Based on her extensive experience, she advised us on what programs and services would be most appropriate. She was very prompt and always available to answer our numerous questions. We are very grateful for her insights and support throughout the process. It was a great feeling to have someone to lean on for help with such important decisions. Her guidance makes it easier for parents struggling to find appropriate educational and therapeutic resources for their child.

—Rocky A.

Sarah Birnbaum was our number-one resource when it was time to navigate the Turning 5 process. Sarah is at the top of her game and knows all the ins and out of the special needs world. On top of that, she’s been an absolute pleasure to work with! Always approachable, Sarah has a unique gift of combining “no nonsense” advice with sensitivity, humor, and respect. When my daughter was offered a spot at the school we had been hoping to get into, Sarah was one of the first people I called. We could not have done it without her guidance!!

—Jacqueline U.

Sarah, thank you so much for helping us through the roller coaster of the Turning 5 process. You gave us valuable information, guidance and support throughout the process which we would have never figured out on our own. Frankly, you made the process far less confusing and intimidating for us. We will forever be grateful!

—Vinita T.

When I realized I had to find another school for my mainstreamed second grader, I panicked and felt completely lost. Then I met Sarah, and all of my concerns about the application process were alleviated. She helped me compile a list of schools to which to apply, helped me deal with the applications, and guided me through the whole process. My son is going to the right school for him next year and I am so grateful to Sarah. If I ever need to apply to another school again in the future, Sarah will be the first phone call I make.

—Heidi R.

Sarah Birnbaum is an incredibly valuable resource. She has always been available, supportive, empowering, and honest. She educated us about CPSE and guided us throughout the process. Sarah encouraged us to move fast and advocate strongly. More importantly, she gave us the tools to do so — and to succeed in our efforts. She understood the issues our child was facing, the educational setting she needed, and the steps we had to take to meet our child’s educational needs. We are very thankful to Sarah for her wise advice and sincere support.

—Silvia O.

Sarah was a beacon of light in what seemed like total darkness. She helped my family navigate through rough seas and dark times. The Turning 5 process is challenging and Sarah was there every step of the way helping guide us through the process with her infinite experience and support. I felt like I finally had an ally, someone on my team, giving my family the support we needed and longed for. I would highly recommend Sarah’s services. She knows the ins and outs and is always available.

—Stacey C.

Sarah, thank you very much for all your help, support, guidance, understanding and for sharing your knowledge with us. You are a great person, and an expert in special education. You have helped us become educated about the school options and to help our son to continue moving forward. You gave us confidence and empowered us to believe that we could find an appropriate educational setting for our child. Thank you very much!!!!

—Susana M.

The world of special needs was a mystery to us. We went through the process for years without proper guidance and without knowing what was available to help our child. Then, by chance, we went to Sarah’s amazing “Turning 5” talk. Those three hours changed everything. Sarah’s knowledge of the special needs world, and her passion to help special needs kids and their parents, helped empower us to be better advocates for our child. We now know what to ask for, who to speak with, what evaluations are needed and much, much more. We only wish we had known her years earlier. Thank you Sarah!

—Dipal S.

Sarah Birnbaum was a tremendous resource throughout the entire process. She walked us through what to expect, whom to contact and gave great advice regarding what to consider when trying to determine the best school environment for our child.

—Brian P.

Sarah Birnbaum was recommended to us when we were debating whether to move our child from a mainstream preschool environment into a special ed setting. I found her to be incredibly knowledgeable, very organized, and extremely personable to work with. She is up to date with information on schools, services, and experts. She also has a very good insight into the “system” and its nuances.

She patiently and expertly guided us through the process and helped us secure the services my child needed. Fast forward another year, we turned to her again when figuring out kindergarten. Having Sarah as my go-to person was just fantastic – she helped us plan early and thoroughly for this difficult and time-consuming process.

As mom to a special needs child herself, Sarah understands the difficulties parents face in this process. Apart from being a wealth of information, Sarah is genuinely helpful and nice to work with. I highly recommend her services.

—Maya D.

Sarah’s expertise and calm demeanor made stepping into the Turning 5 process a lot easier. She provided valuable insight that made the process so much more approachable and less intimidating. As a result, our son will be attending a great school for him in the fall!

—Mary N.

When our son encountered difficulties at school, Sarah Birnbaum was the first person to offer us sound and sage advice. Without Sarah’s expertise, knowledge, and resources, we would never have moved so swiftly through such a trying and difficult time. She connected us to helpful professionals and gave us advice about programs that would be appropriate for our son and his unique and complex learning needs. Sarah has the right combination of experience, knowledge, and savvy to help any family navigate the special education services and schools available in New York, and she will hold your hand, lend an ear, and offer a shoulder when needed!

—Lisa G.

Sarah is an advisor who gives suggestions and feedback with impartiality. It helped to have someone unattached to my specific situation validate the school choices I made. School selection is so stressful for parents, it helps to have someone on your side throughout the process to help weed through all the information.

—Marge H.

I’m so glad that I contacted Sarah. She was such a huge help to me in navigating through the CPSE process. It is amazing how much information she gave me, info that I do not think I would have figured out on my own. I’m so happy that my son is finally getting the help he needs.

—Suheyl R.

Finding a kindergarten for my son was not only stressful but remarkably confusing. Sarah was able to help me decipher the differences between schools and find the best fit. And, perhaps most importantly, she was always available, friendly and positive!

—Jen B.

Sarah was one of the first people who gave me solid guidance and support, and I will always remember her for that!

—Liz B.

Before attending your Turning 5 workshop, I was scared and lost beyond words not knowing what Turning 5 meant for my daughter. Your seminar, your knowledge of the educational system was amazing. It gave me the confidence I needed to find her a school she would strive in. The help and time you gave our family is greatly appreciated. I walked out knowing exactly what steps I needed to take to help my daughter find the appropriate school. She is in a great school and making such great progress. I really owe it to you!! Your expertise, guidance and support is greatly appreciated.

—Jenny S.

I attended your amazing CPSE workshop. What a gift you are. You have no idea how much better I feel and how much stress fell off of me after attending your seminar. I felt empowered and calm in a way I haven’t since I first noticed my son’s symptoms. There was lots of new information and your suggestions so appealed to me. You make so much sense.

—Stefanie Z.

A sincere thank you for your excellent “Life After EI” presentation. Not only was it informative, but you delivered it in an honest, no-nonsense manner which I found totally refreshing. Your one-page summary is a perfect transitioning tool for any parent, and I copied it for each of my son’s therapists and suggested that they encourage other parents to attend.

For me personally, I Ieft your meeting with a spring in my step as you helped clarify something for us. You said one sentence which I know we will always be grateful for: “Do you want your child to make it in a classroom, or to thrive in a classroom?”

—Marie D.

I just wanted to THANK YOU so much for your “Life After EI” presentation last night and for tirelessly answering so many questions. I felt shut down upon arrival, feeling depressed and overwhelmed. I walked out feeling rejuvenated, informed, optimistic and empowered. You really inspired me!

—Kari M.

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