About Us

OUR MISSION AND PHILOSOPY

SPARK to Learn believes that each child is unique and that each child is eligible for a unique learning experience. At times, parents need help accessing the proper learning environment for their child.

SPARK to Learn works with families and school districts to create IEP and 504 plans that not only take into consideration the unique needs of the student but also take into consideration what is available from the school district. It is our goal to inform parents about their rights, their child’s rights and the different accommodations and modifications available to their child with the ultimate goal of creating the best learning environment for the child.

SPARK to Learn works diligently to teach parents about the IEP process so that they can become effective advocates for their own children.


IT TAKES A VILLAGE

SPARK to Learn was created to help parents navigate the strange and cumbersome process of getting their children help through the IEP process. At times, even parents – a child’s most important advocate – can get overwhelmed by the cryptic special education process. SPARK to Learn can help a family create an environment that allows their child to thrive at school – not just survive.

SPARK to Learn has a special relationship with Kids Therapy Made Simple (a pediatric wellness center with specialization in OT, PT, Speech Therapy and Psychotherapy). We share offices and work with these specialists to get a good understanding of your child’s educational and environmental needs in order to learn. We also have outstanding relationships with Psy.D.’s around the city to help with educational testing, and lawyers who specialize in IEP advocacy and due process, if your case should need it.


DEENA WACHTEL

Deena became a Student Advocate following a three year struggle to ensure that both of her children were receiving the individualized support that they needed. When she originally entered the Special Education program in her district, she went in with very little knowledge. She initially sought support from her sister, Dr. Lisa J Lewis, OTD, OTR/L, MACLP (licensed and registered Occupational Therapist), and then realized that there was a whole world of laws, regulations and rights for children and their families regarding access to the educational curriculum. At this point, Deena dove head in to read and study everything she could about student advocacy and how to navigate the special education system.

Armed with a desire to help other people understand the IEP process, Deena desired to create a healthy balance between what a child needs to learn and what the district needs to provide. She strives to make the process as smooth as possible by helping parents understand their rights.

Deena’s previous career was in the field of marketing for large toy companies. She graduated from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business with an MBA in 2001. Following graduation, she held the position of Director of Marketing for several large marketing corporations throughout Southern California – specializing in branding and negotiating licensing contracts. Deena also holds a license as a Real Estate Broker in the state of California and has negotiated numerous contracts.

Her previous experience has provided her with the necessary skills to research thoroughly, interpret reports, negotiate win-win agreements and find out-of-the-box solutions. These skills are now used to make sure that parents and school districts work together in the best interest of the student.