Being referred to Val was the best thing that ever happened to our Family! Our son was diagnosed with Autism, OCD and Depression and after suffering in the school system for years, we were hopeless. UNTIL we found Val. Not only was she able to educate us on what we were entitled to from the school district, she gave us hope, but most importantly, she understood the pain our family was going through and was able to help my husband and I with emotional support. Val walked us through every step of the process to ensure our son would receive the education he deserves. The tools she provided are absolutely priceless! She exhibits courtesy, professionalism and makes a point to go an extra mile… every time…
We call Val our Angel on Earth!
Val Lyons came highly recommended from other parents. I was instantly made at ease at our first meeting. She was sincere, passionate, and confident about the strategy and plan. Val was always available and willing to assist each step of the way. I never felt alone throughout the process. She knows the law and has the right connections to get the job done. She had a rapport with the teachers, principals and administrators who all respected her role. I am so pleased that we received a favorable decision and don’t believe I could have done it without the services of Dr. Lyons and Finishing Strong, LLC.
Being the parent of a special needs teen is like living on a roller coaster. Having a high school aged child can make the days even more challenging. In grade school and middle school, I was lucky. It was fairly easy for me to handle being an advocate for my son. However,when he started high school things got tough very rapidly. My son’s psychiatrist suggested I hire Finishing Strong, LLC. Honestly, I was not really sure what to expect. I met Val and instantly felt we had a connection. The best part was that after our meeting I had an overwhelming feeling of calm. It was so great to know that my son had Val advocating for him. For the first time I felt a sense of relief and accomplishment in a high school IEP meeting. After our first meeting Val met with my son and was able to gain his trust and connect with him in a compassionate way. In the second IEP meeting Val Lyons was able to advocate effectively for my son and help stop the IEP hamster wheel of meeting insanity. She worked very well with my son’s psychiatrist and therapist. She successfully negotiated with my son’s public school district and SSD to gain Purchase of Services so my son could attend the therapeutic school that is best suited for him.
I am grateful each day for level of kindness, compassion, professionalism, and especially the sense of hope that Val Lyons brought to our lives.
We first started working with Dr. Val Lyons approximately 9 years ago. We had a 14 year old, who had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was 11. He was having a great deal of problems, both socially and educationally while attempting to attend a public high school. He was exhibiting outbursts, was often bullied, receiving poor grades, and hated to go to school. It was clear we needed to write an IEP for something to change. We had hired a lawyer but she was extremely ineffective.
We received a recommendation for Dr. Val from a psychologist who was counseling my son. Dr. Val became an advocate for our son, and gave us encouragement and advice that helped us a blaze a path that would eventually lead him to become a high school graduate and student at University of Missouri at St. Louis.
With Dr. Val’s expertise and experience with the school system, as a paralegal, as a health psychologist, registered nurse, and mediator, she taught us how to be an advocate by advising us and attending meetings with us, educating us as a family as what was possible, and giving us enough information that we could make wise and effective decisions for him and our family.
She did not treat him as just a client, but was genuinely interested in his health and wellbeing.
I have personally recommended her to other families who have had similar situations with their children, and continue to use her as a resource today. I would continually refer and endorse her today if I would have an opportunity to do so.
Dear Dr. Lyons, I cannot thank you enough for the assistance you provided our family in obtaining a placement at a private therapeutic school for our daughter with funding from our home district (purchase of service). Your tenacity, knowledge of the IEP process, understanding of the key arguments, and insight into the decision makers made all the difference in our ability to achieve the best possible outcome for our daughter. While your extensive knowledge and experience were what made the difference in getting the right placement for our daughter, it was the compassion and caring you also showed along the way which kept us going. Thank you for what you do, which is to give hope and resources to families and children who are struggling in the mainstream school system! Thanks to you, our daughter is now thriving!
Dr. Lyons’ knowledge, experience and insight into the process of advocating for students with disabilities with Special School District was invaluable for us. She navigated the bureaucracy of the Special School District with focus, determination and respect for all parties involved. She achieved the best possible outcome for us in a very short period of time. When we met Dr. Lyons, our daughter was despondent and unable to attend school. Thanks to the efforts and diligence of Dr. Lyons, our daughter is now happy and attending school full-time in a therapeutic setting.