Tamara Ballou, founder and lead advocate for Ballou Education. Ms. Ballou's passion to advocate for children with special needs began early on in her career. She has over 23 years of experience in the education field. Ballou Education works with families to develop Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), 504 plans, and attend IEP and 504 meetings with parents, and provide knowledge, feedback and advise about the process as well as specific feedback to each individual case.
As a parent of special needs children herself, Ms. Ballou knows first hand the rewards and challenges parents face in advocating for and meeting the education needs of their child. Ms. Ballou has spent numerous hours volunteering in the community. She is the co-founder of Southeast Valley SPED parent's, former president of Tempe Parents for the Gifted, former board member of Defenders of Children and is currently on the advisory council for Defenders of Children. She is considered a leading expert in educational matters in Arizona.
Ms. Ballou offers advocacy for yourself and your child in meeting their educational needs. She understands how intimidating the process can be for parents attending school meetings and offers her support and understanding of parents asserting their child's rights under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).
Gifted education is another strength for Ms. Ballou. Ms. Ballou demonstrates her ongoing commitment to children who are identified as gifted and who are twice exceptional. Because of her strengths in both learning disabilities and gifted education, she is well-equipped to advocate for and support children who are "twice exceptional". She is also able to offer consultation on school placement and recommendation for gifted children.
Ms. Ballou attends 120+ hours of yearly training and conferences related to advocacy and special education law. She is an active member of several organizations, which offer ongoing training and support to advocates in the most current changes to regulations and legislation:
- Member of COPAA (Council of Parents Attorneys and Advocates)
- Member of International Association of Special Education (IASE)
- Member of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA)
- Member of Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented (AAGT)
- Member of National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
- Advisory Counselor for Defenders of Children
- President of Tempe Parents for the Gifted (TPG) - Since 2007
- Representative on the District Parent Advisory Committee (DPAC) for TPG - Since 2007
- Co-Founder of Southwest Valley SPED parents - Since 2009