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Child First Advocates

Helping Families Navigate the IEP Process


“It is every child’s right to receive a free and appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).”

Making & Meeting Goals

We are IEP advocates helping families navigate the IEP/504 plan process for children with special needs. We start by reviewing your child’s goals, and helping you organize your child’s file. After reviewing the current goals, we look at your child’s strengths and weaknesses and listen to any changes you would like to see. We use this information to develop a quality IEP strategy and  plan goals for you to use at the IEP meeting with or without an IEP advocate to assist in the process.

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Little girl writing

Building Strong Futures

We are passionate about helping families get the educational benefits required for their children. Our philosophy is to work together with the school system and develop a high quality IEP or 504 plans for the child. When this is not possible, our attorneys and IEP advocates protect the child’s right to education by pursuing the legal process to ensure children receive their education benefits under the law and Individuals with Disables Act (IDEA).s

Our Advocates / Attorneys

Picture Ed Spinks

T. Edmund Spinks

Attorney/IEP Advocate

Since 2000, I have been a licensed attorney in the state of Florida. When my son was born with Down syndrome I personally discovered how difficult it is to navigate the maze of educational needs and requirements of the school system. I founded Child First Advocates to assist other parents in the process to ensure their children are provided the educational benefits they deserve. 

Kathy Fillyaw, M. Ed

IEP Advocate

In 2007, I gave birth to a child with a hearing impairment that has forever changed the way I look at the education system and the way I support my son. Due to my son’s struggle to understand the concept of phonics, I began to pursue my education in Special Education to figure out how to help him best and navigate the IEP process. This led me to earn two master’s degrees (Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education. 2012; Education in Curriculum and Instruction, 2018), teaching certification, and a son that is flourishing in school. Since 2011, For three years, I was the middle school ESE Specialist after teaching students for several years. I am currently pursuing my Doctor of Education in Education Leadership from Saint Leo University.

Informational Videos

A great video shared at the Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent’s Advisory Counsel for the Education of Students with Disabilities, of which Ed Spinks is a parent-member. This video was shared i conjunction with  a discussion of mindfulness training in education.

Child First Advocates
Phone: 813-651-1233