Interview Nicole Bovell, Ed.S., Author and Advocate for the Special Education Community

Interview Nicole Bovell, Ed.S., Author and Advocate for the Special Education Community

Nicole Bovell, ED.S. is a longtime advocate of the special education community. She is the author of The Journey of Special Education: Informational Posts to Get You Through,  A Parent’s IEP Guide: Understanding the IEP Process in Simple Terms, and How to Have a Great School Year. These books are informational resources to help special needs parents with the special education process.

In Nicole’s guest post introducing this book, she wrote: “The Journey of Special Education is a book compiled of informational posts that will give parents the confidence to advocate for their child, encourages parents to keep going even when things get too difficult and teaches parents about the right kind of advocacy.”

We were very impressed with The Journey of Special Education and highly recommend it to all caregivers of a person with special needs.  Some of the sections in her 239 page book are the following:

  • The World of Advocacy
  •  Know Your IEPs
  • Special Needs Children and Behavior
  • In the Classroom
  • Planning for Your Child’s Future

Her last chapter, titled Real Life, covers topics most parents of children with special needs need guidance with:

  • How do you know if your child is ready to be toilet trained?
  • Have you ever wondered if you could build your own sensory room?
  • Do you know what to add to your child’s “Sensory Box”?
  • Need guidelines to select a summer camp for your child with special needs?

Lorna: Congratulations on your many accomplishments! The Journey of Special Education: Informational Posts to Get You Through is your third book! What motivated you to write The Journey of Special Education?

<<Nicole Bovell: When I was a special education teacher, I saw so many parents get lost in the special education system. They did not know the steps to take, the questions to ask and how to get the right services for their child. Unfortunately, I could not help these parents the way that I wanted to as a teacher. So, when I decided not to return to teaching after I had my son, I started my own special education advocacy business. My goal is to create resources for special needs parents to use, as well as provide IEP help and advocacy services for parents who need them.

Lorna: You wrote in the first section, « Your first responsibility as a special needs parent is to know your rights. Remember, if you do not know your rights, then you will not know what to advocate for. In addition to this important responsibility, here are a few more responsibilities to remember…”  What are some of the first responsibilities parents must attend to when their child is placed in special education classes?

<<Nicole Bovell: As I stated in the book, one of the most important responsibilities is knowing your rights as a special needs parent so that you can properly advocate for your child. Many parents do not know their rights and then ultimately, their children get lost in the system. In addition, taking care of yourself so that you are mentally, emotionally and physically strong as well as staying on top of your child’s IEP to make sure it is being implemented appropriately.

Lorna: You wrote, “With today’s technology and the internet you can find practically anything you want related to your child’s disability. There are so many resources, strategies, parenting tips, and books that will give you ideas and the information you need to be a successful special needs parents. Do not just rely on the school system, but do the research for yourself.” What topics should parents research when starting out? 

<<Nicole Bovell: When starting out, parents should research more about their child’s disability. They should know what it is, the causes, symptoms, treatments and current research. They also should then find a support group specific to their child’s disability and parent support groups for themselves.

Lorna: You explain so well how to prepare for a first IEP meeting in a section titled, “HELP! I’M NEW TO THE IEP PROCESS” Parents HAVE to read your book to learn the many tips you wrote about.  Please elaborate on a few ways parents can prepare for a first IEP meeting.

<<Nicole Bovell: Preparing for your first IEP meeting can very scary for some parents. To ease the anxiety, you want to be prepared by knowing what will take place during the meeting, who will attend the IEP meeting and what will happen after the meeting. Parents should also find someone that they can bring to the meeting to make them feel more comfortable.

Lorna: What do you think about the student in question being part of the IEP team meeting? What level of maturity or development should the child with special needs have so that it is beneficial to include him in the IEP meetings?

<<Nicole Bovell: Students are required to attend IEP meetings when transition goals and services are being discussed in the meeting, which is the age of 16 in most states. Some parents may feel that even if their child is of age, they are not at the level of maturity or development. However, the majority of children, despite their maturity and developmental level, can offer some type of input. It is important for the IEP team to get their input (even if it’s only a small bit) because essentially it is their future.

The Journey of Special Education: Informational Posts to Get You Through by Nicole BovellLorna: Parents will be pleased you addressed “BULLYING AND YOUR CHILD’S IEP” You explain that a bullying prevention plan can be included in your child’s IEP! What are some things parents can do to help limit bullying?

<<Nicole Bovell: Unfortunately, bullies prey on quiet children and this may be the case with a child with a disability. To prevent this, parents can make sure to keep in contact with their child’s teacher, role play bully situations with their child, teach their child to say « no » really loudly if someone tries to harm them and check in with their child to see if they display any different mood changes.

Lorna: You have also written “How to Have a Great School Year: A Guide for Special Needs Parents (57 pages)” and “A Parent’s IEP Guide: Understanding the IEP Process in Simple Terms(22 pages)”.  Do these books contain other information that is not covered in The Journey of Special Education?  Tell us about these two books.

<<Nicole Bovell: Yes, each book is different. How to Have a Great School takes parents through the beginning, middle and end of the school year, focusing on information to make sure their child is successful throughout the year. At the end of each chapter, there is a special tip related to the topic. It was written as a « quick read » for parents to use before the school year begins. A Parent’s IEP Guide is also a quick resource that outlines the sections of an IEP and how an IEP takes place. It is intended for parents new to the special education process who want to learn more about IEPs.

Lorna: Thank you very much for the information about your book and a PDF copy of it. Best of luck in all you are trying to do!

Thank you so much Lorna. I forward to keeping in contact with you.

About Nicole Bovell:

Nicole Bovell has her Masters of Arts in Special Education, an Educational Specialist degree in Teaching and Learning and over fifteen years of experience teaching and working with students who have a variety of disabilities. Nicole believes that early intervention is the key to helping children succeed and is passionate about educating young children. She also provides additional resources for special needs parents on her website

You can connect with Nicole Bovell on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Have a Great School Year by Nicole Bovell, ED. S.

Read Also:



Buy Books by Nicole Bovell, ED.S.:

  • The Journey of Special Education: Informational Posts to Get You Through September 25, 2017 
  • How to Have a Great School Year: A Guide for Special Needs Parents(57 pages) 
  • A Parent’s IEP Guide: Understanding the IEP Process in Simple Terms(22 pages) 

This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.