Sarah’s talk on the transition from EI to CPSE was informational, empowering, and motivating. After hearing her speak, we engaged her to help us through it, and she gracefully guided us through what could best be described as a potentially stressful and unnerving process. Her expertise and assistance throughout was priceless and something I could not have done without. Thank you Sarah!

—Michelle N.

When I came across Sarah’s website, I felt like it was answered prayer. Having a child with special needs is challenging enough emotionally and mentally, but figuring my way around the system was another added difficulty. I had no idea what my options and rights were, what services I could get for my son, didn’t understand agencies or roles or how anything related and what we could expect or get. Sarah is like a sherpa who will confidently and encouragingly guide you through the special needs system. She is knowledgeable and kind. She helped me transition from EI to CPSE and successfully get my son the services he needs. Her free lectures educating families on her best tips are testimony to her heart of gold — she’s in this to help special needs children and families, and for no other reason.

—Maria L.

Sarah was extremely helpful in providing timely and helpful feedback on draft reports as well as interview strategies for our son’s admission process for special needs kindergartens in New York City. Her knowledge and understanding as a special needs parent puts her in a unique position to help you advocate for your own child to therapists, specialists and school admissions personnel.

—Michele K.

Words cannot even begin to express what Sarah Birnbaum has done for me, my son and my family! She came to my rescue when I didn’t have anybody else. All I have left to say is God bless you Sarah and thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

—Tracie P.

I attended your seminar “Life After EI,” and I just want to thank you. You are a wealth of information, and I learned more in two hours than I ever thought imaginable. I can’t thank you enough!

—Joanna H.

My son was struggling in school, and when I was told to find a more therapeutic school for him, my support group recommended Sarah. Getting Sarah’s help was one of the best things I have done for my son.

Sarah looked at the whole picture — developmental history, doctor reports, school reports — and realized that my son was in dire need of additional therapies. Sarah sent over skilled therapists who instantly knew how to work with my son and help him achieve his potential. She recommended schools and prepared application packages, and her empathy helped me through a very dark time. After six weeks of intensive therapy, my son had become so successful that his school reversed its earlier decision and decided he could stay in the program.

Almost six months later, my son is thriving in school, getting the support he needs, and learning to cope appropriately with his challenges. I will always be thankful to Sarah for putting a plan in place that set my son up for success.

—Terry H.

Sarah is profoundly knowledgeable. She is a good listener and generous in sharing information and ideas. Sarah has an amazing gift and is very talented, her skills are exceptional and they come with her big, loving heart. She will give you 101% and I feel more than fortunate to know her.

I could not have gone through the CPSE process without having Sarah by my side. I feel I gained the necessary skills in becoming the best advocate that I can be for my son. I have Sarah to thank for giving me the confidence and support needed to be successful in this experience. Sarah not only had my son’s best interest at heart but mine as well, and together the three of us prevailed.

—Trina M.

Sarah Birnbaum is invaluable. Period. She is not only knowledgeable, caring, supportive and tenacious, but she will not rest until you are the advocate for your child that you always hoped to be. Her impact on our family has been life changing.

—Natasha G.

Sarah was my lifesaver when I felt I was drowning and she pulled me back up onto the surface. A colleague referred Sarah to me when my initial CPSE meeting was not successful. Sarah provided me with guidance and preparation needed in an effort to advocate for my three-year-old son. At my reconvene meeting, Sarah held my hand when I felt lost, provided me reassurance, and we walked out of the meeting with victorious smiles. My husband and I can not thank Sarah enough for her emotional support.

—Maria P.

I attended your Turning 5 workshop yesterday and I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this. It was wonderful. You have alleviated so many of my fears and now I feel like I actually understand the process. Your honesty, empathy, enthusiasm, and encouragement are amazing. You are truly an inspiration. Again, thank you for giving your time to us.

—Rose R.

Do not go to your CPSE or CSE meeting alone. Please bring Sarah Birnbaum with you!

The transition from Early Intervention to CPSE was a daunting process for me. I was uncertain of so many things. Thankfully, at that time, I got to know Sarah. Sarah EDUCATED me about the CPSE system and TRAINED me how to be a good negotiator with the CPSE administrator.

I still remember how nervous I was during the CPSE meeting. Sarah’s presence in the meeting made me feel so relieved. Since she knew exactly what I wanted to say, she skillfully inserted herself into the conversation whenever I was not quite sure how to respond. It would not have been a successful meeting without her. Thank you so much, Sarah!

—Sunghee B.

I am usually an articulate and savvy person. However, when it came to my son, I was so overcome with emotion that I could not put two sentences together. After having gone through a difficult time with his Early Intervention services, I cannot express how much anxiety I felt about his upcoming initial CPSE meeting. A fellow parent of a special needs child mentioned Sarah Birnbaum and told me to look her up.

Sarah was caring and knowledgeable from our first interaction. She diligently read my son’s reports, told me which areas to highlight, and walked me through all the various scenarios of the CPSE meeting. The prep, although difficult, was invaluable. I was very nervous at the meeting but having Sarah there, and remembering all we discussed, helped me keep my composure, speak clearly, and advocate strongly for my son. Thank you, Sarah, for your encouragement and support.

—Sylvia S.

Having gone through the Early Intervention program, I feel like these IFSP/IEP meetings are make-or-break-moments. Knowing I would have some challenge, I really wanted to make sure we got our first CPSE meeting right the first time. Who wants to have to hire an expensive lawyer and appeal later?

Sarah gave me all the information, preparation, and support I needed to get through the meeting confidently and successfully. We got all the services we set out for, and are so grateful to Sarah for helping us through the process. She has the perfect recipe of experience, knowledge, and kindness. Sarah is thorough and dependable, and I would call on her again without hesitation.

—Shelly K.

Sarah was invaluable in helping me figure out where my son would thrive in his school placement. She was extremely knowledgeable about the special needs world of NYC, and throughout the process was thorough, organized, caring, and optimistic. Her compassion and attention to detail were extremely helpful in what was a trying time. Sarah’s ability to go above and beyond what is actually requested of her still amazes me, and I can attest that aside from being a terrific consultant on special needs, she is a truly wonderful person as well.

—Pam W.

Sarah is an excellent listener who knew what I was feeling and delivered clear, helpful advice. She’s easy to talk to and understand. Working with her is empowering: she often helped me feel more calm and confident, especially during our Turning 5 meeting.

Sarah knows how to explain difficult things simply and easily. She’s a library of resources who indexes quickly through her sources to get you what you want and need. Sarah has a solid-gold code of ethics: fights hard on your behalf, on time, prepared, organized critical thinker, vivacious and optimistic, and she keeps her word. I cannot thank her enough for what she has done for me and my children. Our choice to retain her as my five-year-old son’s advocate turned out to be the best decision we made.

—Rafael R.

Sarah is willing and able to be whatever you need: a guide, handholder, cheerleader, source of information, source of support, editor, researcher. She is lovely, kind, knowledgeable, and supportive. Sarah organized my thoughts—and sometimes my feelings—better than I ever could have. You will go through the process with an ear to listen and advise at every turn, so you won’t ever be left feeling like you missed something that could have been done.

—Cynthia S.

Sarah’s guidance was incredibly helpful to my family as we navigated the special needs private school application and Turning 5 experience in New York City. She gave me specific and direct advice, and helped us prepare and get through this rather intense and unsettling process. Our outcome was far better than we had hoped for. My child was accepted at a number of schools we liked and we are thrilled to be starting at one of our top choices in the fall.

—Wendy L.

Sarah Birnbaum helped me understand a complicated report that documented my son’s disability, and helped me get through the school application process. Parents who feel lost and anxious (like I did) should definitely hire someone to help them. I’d highly recommend Sarah to my friends, not only because of her expertise, but also because she is a great person to talk to about the personal struggle involved in advocating for your disabled child’s education.

—Robin T.

When my two-year-old daughter was first being evaluated, I was lost, overwhelmed, and very upset. Offering a level of understanding and empathy that I could not find anywhere else, Sarah gently helped me separate my emotions from what needed to be done and make a plan that could help set my daughter on the road to progress. She recommended therapies and specialists, helped me decide on the best school setting, and even offered suggestions for parenting strategies tailored to what my daughter was going through.

Sarah has the unique ability to be both the caring, empathetic friend and the savvy, street-wise insider who has the knowledge you need to find your way through the maze of parenting a child with special needs. It’s been two years now, and I can’t believe how far my daughter has come. I have become her best advocate and could not have done it without the incredible support Sarah has provided.

—Sheilah B.

Sarah provided invaluable assistance in assembling airtight backup for my daughter’s IEP so we had no issues getting a great level of services approved. Based on my prior year’s experience, there is no way it would have gone this way without all of her help. She saved me thousands of dollars by helping me get services approved that I had previously been paying for privately. I strongly recommend her services to anybody going through this process.

—Joanne H.

Sarah Birnbaum has been our “go-to” person from day one, when we suspected something was amiss with our son. Without her guidance, we wouldn’t have known how to access top-notch services in Early Intervention, get our son set up in a therapeutic nursery, put together a comprehensive program, or transition into CPSE. She knows the special needs landscape inside and out and has been an indispensable guide, helping us navigate this often overwhelming new terrain. Sarah has been available to us about matters large and small, and her emotional support and level-headed advice has been invaluable. Therapists come and go, teachers come and go, but Sarah has been a constant and indispensable member of our son’s team.

—Dawn K.

Sarah is an amazing source of information about the special needs world. We can’t thank her enough for the tips and advice she has given us about increasing services and getting into great schools. Thanks to her help, our son has improved tremendously. We couldn’t believe that within a year he went from having no words to speaking in sentences; from not being able to say “Mama” or “Papa” to trying to get our attention. I feel very lucky to know Sarah and benefit from her guidance.

—Wen Q.

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