Dr. Lara Wakefield has over 20 years of experience in the field of special education, speech-language pathology, and advocacy for IDEA/504. Her passions are creating collaborative partnerships between families and schools. She believes in educating parents and school staff about the civil rights of children with disabilities and focusing on the long-term optimal outcomes of IEPs and 504 plans. Dr. Wakefield earned her Master's in Health Sciences from the University of Missouri and her PhD. from the University of Cincinnati. She is currently part of the Special Education Advocacy Trainee program with the Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys. She has been the recipient of 3 U.S. Department of Education research grants and 3 State of Missouri Education research grants. Her research has focused on inclusive practices, evidence-based approaches, and quality language and literacy interventions. Dr. Wakefield has 2 children and loves to travel around the world with them. Her hobbies include trip-planning and reading copious amounts of non-fiction about civil rights leaders, legal cases, and activism strategies.