Leslie Lipson has dedicated her career to working on behalf of people with disabilities. Leslie has an active national consulting practice, Lipson Advocacy, which offers advocacy solutions using general educational and special education law, from a values-based foundation and mindset of presuming competence. She also leads parent and advocacy group training on topics relating to special education law and advocacy. Previously, from 2001- 2018 she was employed at the Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO). During her tenure, she provided assistance with the Department of Justice in its investigation of a parallel, segregated system in Georgia for educating students with disabilities, has led the Safe Schools Initiative, a multi-agency advocacy effort aimed at ending restraint and seclusion in Georgia public schools, and she has coordinated the Parent Leadership Support Project, which assisted approximately 10,000 families.
In addition, Leslie has also served as program director at the GAO for the Developmental Disability advocacy program, the Psychiatric Disability advocacy program, and the Outreach and Training initiatives. Leslie was a member of the legal team that filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court on October 11, 2017, alleging that the state of Georgia, by denying students with disabilities the opportunity to be educated with their non-disabled peers in neighborhood schools through a system called “GNETS”, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This lawsuit is pushing the boundaries of how federal civil rights law is applied to the continued segregation and dismal educational opportunities offered to students with disabilities. She studies Social Role Valorization and teaches and uses these principles to enhance her work of supporting people with disabilities to acquire and maintain valued social roles to access the good things in life. Leslie is frequently asked to present on the implementation of advocacy strategies based on IDEA/504, supporting attorneys/advocates in their careers, creating and sustaining volunteer projects, Social Role Valorization, and inclusive schooling. She has presented at the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates National Conference (COPAA), National Disabilities Rights Network Annual Conference (NDRN), Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), TASH National Conference, Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum, Learning Disability Association National Conference, North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), Georgia CASA Conference, International Social Role Valorization Conference, and numerous community events. Leslie earned her undergraduate and J.D. degrees from The University of Georgia.
Lipson Advocacy: Educational, Legal and Strategy Specialist