Westfield Mom, Legal Expert to Speak About Advocating for Your Child with Special Needs

Author Greer Gurland will speak at Westfield Memorial Library Sept. 24.

WESTFIELD, NJ — Greer Gurland, author of “How to Advocate Successfully for Your Child: What Every Parent Should Know About Special Education Law” (Amazon Books) will speak at Westfield Memorial Library on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

Gurland is a Harvard educated lawyer specializing in special education law and the mother of five children with special needs who attend Westfield public schools.

“The book is a work from the heart. I was inspired to write it by the many parents I've spoken to who would do anything for their children, if only they knew what to do,” Gurland said. “I want parents to know that they have what it takes to be their child's best advocate. And that they are not alone."

Sign Up for E-News

Gurland encourages parents to start by attending a meeting of their local special education parent committee. Westfield’s committee meets at Edison Intermediate School monthly, she noted.

Gurland knows first-hand what it’s like to face legal challenges on behalf of her kids.

“As a parent and as a person, I want to be reasonable,” she said. “It has been hard sometimes to know when I am within my rights to ask for help with an issue my child is facing. I needed to learn more about my rights to navigate those questions. My mission in writing ‘How to Advocate Successfully for Your Child: What Every Parent Should Know About Special Education Law’ was to make that information available to every parent. I don't want the next generation of parents to have to learn the hard way. In addition, many people have helped me, and continue to help me, along my journey — it’s my turn to pay it forward.”

Gurland said that many parents worry about the stigma that goes along with special education.

“I worried, too,” she said. “I hesitated to share the challenges my kids were facing, which include autism and ADHD. But I learned over time that I had to be more open, to get my kids supports they needed. Even more important, I felt I needed to be more open in order to help my children realize that that they are human, that they have great gifts as well as challenges they can overcome — but that requires understanding what they are. Eventually, they need to be able to advocate for themselves.”

So many misconceptions exist about special education, Gurland said.

“It’s come a long way. And education is a broad concept,” she said. “Children who are very bright can have learning differences and/or social, behavioral or emotional challenges that schools can help to address. I try to explain to parents what special ed looks like today, so that parents have the opportunity to take advantage of it for their children, where that’s appropriate.”

Copies of “How to Advocate Successfully for Your Child: What Every Parent Should Know” will be available for sale at the presentation. The book is also for sale on Amazon Books. It is available in Spanish as “Cómo abogar con éxito por su hijo: Lo que todos los padres deben saber acerca de la Ley de Educación Especial” courtesy of a grant from Children's Specialized Hospital.

Pre-registration for the event is requested. To sign up, click here. Westfield Memorial Library is located at 550 East Broad Street.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Fri, February 23

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green


Fri, February 23, 4:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve


Fri, February 23, 6:30 PM

Union County Vocational Technical Schools, West Hall Cafeteria, Scotch Plains

Union County Magnet High School Silent Auction

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Fri, February 23, 7:00 PM

Trinity Episcopal Day School (TEDS), Cranford

TEDS Annual Tricky Tray & 50/50 Raffle – ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink Giving Back

Sat, February 24

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Springfield's Cannon Hall House is Open to Public Sunday, Letter from George Washington and Herbert Hoover will be on Display

February 18, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ – Hit by a cannon ball, it survived the Revolutionary War.  Sunday, there is the Springfield Historical Society Open House at the Cannon Ball House. It will be open to the public from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  

In honor of it being Presidents’ Day weekend, two samples of presidential penmanship will be displayed. One is a letter that George ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

WFP Tax Partners Walks You Through 4 Step Tax Return Process

February 22, 2018

Over 80% of Tax Returns Have Errors or Missed Deductions. You're Probably Paying More Than Your Fair Share in Taxes

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Tax returns certainly give a clear picture of the past year, but WFP Tax Partners believes it's wise to strategize for the current year to have a plan for moving forward. 

At your tax appointment, they ...

I've Always Wanted to be a Doctor...Or an English Teacher

Think about the impossibility of the task we lay in front of high school students.  In addition to getting good grades, filling up a resume, finding the right colleges and writing countless admissions essays they also need to decide on their life’s passion at 17 years old...or do they?

As a college admissions representative the first question most students would ask me was whether ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...