NATIONAL SPECIAL EDUCATION ADVOCACY INSTITUTE
To function as an integral part of the national education advocacy community and provide a variety of continuing education opportunities with a commitment to professional development, a national board certification program, high ethical standards, and promotion of the independent education advocacy profession.
To develop and maintain a membership comprised of professionally trained education advocates, from multiple disciplines and advocacy focus, in practice within our communities and across the country.
THIS IS DONE NATIONALLY THROUGH:
RESEARCH related to learning disabilites, Autism and related neuro-developmental disorders
PUBLIC AWARENESS about incidence of disorders and effective treatment,
Supporting community programs that promote awareness about disabilities and support families and individuals with disabilities,
ACCURATE INFORMATION dissemination of up to date, research based information to families, educators and medical professionals, and
EDUCATION of parents, advocates, clinicians, educators, lawyers and the community by providing quality education and advocacy
Information as to best practices and appropriate treatment.
Promoting a collaborative, cross training approach.
Being a source of accurate, up to date, research based information,
PROMOTING INDEPENDENCE through education advocacy, self advocacy, independent living and home and community based services for children and adults with Autism and related neuro-developmental disorders,
FUNDING of research that addresses the quality of life for parents and their children with Autism, and
SPONSORING quality Special Education Advocacy trainings through NSEAI, which provides on-site, on-line training, community training programs and conferences.
NSEAI’s BOARD CERTIFICATION PURPOSE
Founded as an organization for professional development, NSEAI exists to serve the education advocacy community by:
Providing its members with opportunities for continuing education public service
Providing professional credentialing through established uniform and minimum content standards, criteria and exams
Providing protection for practitioners and consumers by establishing a minimum standard of expertise in the education advocacy field
Promoting the profession of education advocacy
Providing a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize effective and accomplished education advocates
Providing and maintaining best practices, ethical standards, professional conduct standards and disciplinary standards for the education advocacy profession
Promoting the development of legal standards in state, federal and case law for education advocates and the establishment of the profession
Creating diverse and effective networks of effective and collaborative advocates who have a child focused professional and collaborative approach.
NSEAI’s FIVE CORE PROPOSITIONS
Education Advocates are committed to students and their learning at various developmental levels.
Education Advocates are cross trained in the multiple disciplines that apply to IDEA and education of students.
Education Advocates are responsible for managing and monitoring their level of expertise and scope of practice.
Education Advocates learn to systematically use critical thinking skills in their practice and learn from their experience and the experience of other advocates.
Education Advocates are collaborative members of a learning and professional community.
The National Special Education Advocacy Institute was established in 2008 to meet professional credentialing needs identified by education advocates and consumers of education advocacy services. The NSEAI’s mission was to develop, promote, and implement a national board certification program for education advocate practitioners and to improve the minimum standards of education for professional education advocates. This was accomplished when NSEAI was the first to establish a standardized fund of knowledge content standards, practice standards, and a criteria for their credentialing process to meet accepted standards for a national certification program, best practice standards and ethical standards of the education advocate profession. The National Special Education Advocacy Institute adheres to the national standards for boards that grant professional credentials. Those who meet the credentialing requirements may represent themselves as a Board Certified Education Advocate, BCEA.
Other established programs do not offer certificants credentialing nor have they assumed the responsibilities of a certifying national professional association, as NSEAI has. The NSEAI looks forward to providing the BCEA curriculum in universities across the country.
The National Special Educational Advocacy Institute (NSEAI) was founded in collaboration with well trained professional education advocates from varied educational backgrounds, who where distressed to see families get the wrong information about IEP development from misinformed education advocates, educators and lawyers. There were no minimum standards for the profession’s core fund of knowledge /education required for the profession of education advocacy, no defined skill sets, and the level of professionalism varied widely in the field, from parent buddies to true professionals.
The NSEAI’s BCEA program is based on the highly successful and sought after Education Advocate Program developed by one of NSEAI’s founders from 2000 thru 2004. The curriculum has been updated every year since and was first presented, in 2008, as a coordinated series leading to Board Certified Education Advocate credential.
The Certification Board for Education Advocates, the National Special Education Advocacy Institute, NSEAI, was incorporated in 2008 to advance the profession of education advocacy and assist the public in identifying qualified professionals by developing board certification and recertification programs for education advocates. The NSEAI is an independent body that establishes policies, procedures and standards for board certification in educational advocacy.
Granting of the certification Board Certified Education Advocates (BCEA TM) recognizes professional competence in the knowledge and skills required for current practice. The NSEAI strives to adhere to the guidelines established by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, NCCA, in the development and implementation of its board certification program. The purpose of board certification in education advocacy is to assist the public by identifying standards for the professional practice of education advocacy. The NSEAI provides uniform and valid examinations to individuals to assist the public in its efforts to evaluate qualified education advocates.
The NSEAI Board Certification program consists of 6 hours of examinations, administered over 12 courses, which were developed by its examination committee, a committee of education advocates from diverse backgrounds, using guidelines issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as the guidelines in The Standards for Educational and Psychological Tests (published jointly by the American Psychological Association, the National Council on Measurement in Education and the American Educational Research Association) as our standards for educational testing. Based on a national practice analysis of education advocacy tasks, the examination was developed by the NSEAI on behalf of members of the profession and the practice analysis is regularly reviewed and updated to reflect current practice.
The NSEAI also sponsors and administers a recertification program. After successful completion of the examinations and practicum, each certificant must recertify every ten years. Recertification may be accomplished through re-application only in the nineth-year of the cycle, and through accrual of appropriate continuing education credits each year cycle. The purpose of the recertification program is to provide certificants with guidelines to assist them in remaining competent with current education advocacy practice and further enhancing their knowledge in the profession of education advocacy. The recertification program contributes to the professional development of the BCEA TM through a program of continuing education, professional development and professional service opportunities. Documentation guidelines require relating content and learning outcomes to the NSEAI’s defined scope of practice. Integrating and applying new knowledge with current practice, developing enhanced skills in the delivery of services to clients, and enhancing a BCEA TM’s overall abilities are direct outcomes of the recertification program. To support NSEAI’s commitment of ensuring the competence of the certificant and protecting the public, certification must be renewed every five years with the accrual of continuing education credits, or by retaking the examination to demonstrate competence in current education advocacy practice.
NSEAI'S NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFICATION
The NSEAI Board offers a technical board certificate in education advocacy. This board certification is now recognized nationally and states the level of training (3 levels available).
Board Certification of any professional service provider, in any field, is the process by which a non-governmental agency or association validates an individual’s qualifications and knowledge in a defined functional area, through a predetermined curriculum. Candidates for certification must meet specific requirements of eligibility and pass examinations.
Board Certification came about because of many ethical and quality issues and complaints with education advocates delivering services without an adequate fund of knowledge to independently practice, in the complex interdisciplinary field of education advocacy. This lack of knowledge jeopardized parental rights and interfered with or increased the cost associated with parents accessing a free and appropriate education for their children. This occurred because other national educational programs being offered did not adequately address the interdisciplinary educational needs of an education advocate, resulting in highly varied quality of competency among practitioners, thus putting the public at risk.
NSEAI is a professional association and organization without governmental powers to regulate or license the practice of education advocacy. The NSEAI Board Certification is voluntary and means that certificants have chosen to satisfied entry-level requirements in a professional education advocacy training. They must operate within the scope of their practice and within their areas of expertise to maintain their Board Certification.
All professional education advocates deserve accomplished mentors who are equipped to prepare them for success in the world of education advocacy. National Board Standards and National Board Certification, by a professional association like NSEAI, give advocates and their clients the tools to define and measure advocacy outcomes. The National Board Certification is a rigorous, peer-reviewed process. The faculty has proven skills to advance candidate achievement and help them demonstrated growth and achievement by:
1) Applying NSEAI’s rigorous and exacting set of standards and examinations on a national scale before certifying an education
advocate. A strong command of content is demonstrated through passing 12 required exams, 6 hours of testing.
2) Analysis of appropriateness of IEPs and support ongoing client learning through accurate identification of educational needs
3) Analysis of assessments to facilitate instructional decision making and measure functional achievement outcomes
4) Partnering with experts, in educational, behavioral, clinical and legal aspects of special education to provide cross training
5) Defining clear practice guidelines
6) Providing a structured pedagogy as they expand their fund of knowledge into the science of educational advocacy.
7) Completion of 198 hours of NSEAI Board approved curriculum (or equivalent curriculum), 16.50 hours for each of 12 courses
(Lecture 5.50, Out of Class Assignments 11.00)
8) Satisfying a 83% seminar attendance requirement
9) Completeing additional continuing education hours from other professional trainings and other CEUs outside of the NSEAI curriculum
related to the special education fields prior to certification
10) Satisfactory practicum experience completion, to show a minimum level of competence in knowledge, skills, and behavior.
The above is done to provide a professional frame work for education advocacy and promote quality public services.
Board Certification is given and maintained by the NSEAI, a professional association. Levels of professional knowledge and expertise in specific areas will vary among providers based on additional experience and education outside of the National Special Education Advocacy Training program provided by NSEAI.
Members agree that NSEAI has the sole discretion to give or revoke board certification based on professional behaviors demonstrated and adherence to NSEAI Professional Standards. Members agree that the NSEAI Practice Act of Principles and Guidelines will be followed to maintain certification after successfully completing the training program.
This voluntary Board certification promotes a standard for recognizing qualifications and validating a broad-based minimum knowledge requirement as the foundation for effective service in the field of special education advocacy. These standards aim to enhance service provision to people with educational and developmental disabilities who are seeking access to a free and appropriate education. The board certification program promotes minimum standards of professional practice in the field of Education Advocacy and is a source of pride for the BCEA.
BCEA Qualified Individuals having taken a course of study that meets a minimum national standard of knowledge for Education Advocates.
This national standard was originally published in March of 2008, with NSEAI's curriculum.
In keeping to professional national standards of board certification, NSEAI is striving to meet all 21 credentialing standards set forth by NCCA, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. http://www.credentialingexcellence.org/NCCAAccreditation
Standards focus on:
Responsibilities to Association Members,
Responsibilities to the Public,
Board certifications are professional designations representing qualifications and experience. It is an acknowledgment of educational achievement that an agency bestows to safeguard the public interests. It denotes a minimum standard of education, continuing education requirements and experience to perform designated tasks.
Board Certification is very different than a certification of attendance to an training program, regardless of the length of the program. Board Certification requires passing at an acceptable level a series of examinations whereas training certification attendance does not reflect knowledge of materials. Training certifications do not reflect an experiential level nor the commitment and requirement to mandated continuing education. Board Certifications reflect an extensive area of predetermined scope of study with a consistent curriculum. Board Certified professionals agree to compliance to professional standards and the association may sanction an individual for non compliance. This is what creates a minimum standard of best practice within an profession. NSEAI offers a base 198 hour program, with a broad base of study and cross training by lawyers, educators, clinicians and policy makers about special education.
Board certification sets forth a set of standards that are expected to be followed. These standards are agreed to once one accepts the Board Certification. No board certifying agency can guarantee professional competence that is why a complaint and review process is available by all national board certifying groups like NSEAI.