Linda McDougall-Leenstra, Parent Advocate


Linda McDougall-Leenstra is passionate about advocating for special needs families. She has been in the special needs community professionally for over 25 years. Linda began advocating for better, more effective special education programs after experiencing first-hand the challenges of our school systems as a certified special education teacher.

Linda is a child centered crusader, who feels the education of a child with special needs works best when the strategies are carried out across all environments of that child’s life. However, Linda quickly found out how difficult it is to make sure these strategies, modalities, and services cross over when she was met with adversity from her employers in the public school sectors. In finding that; acquisition of funds, availability of services, a general desire to do the very least possible for each individual child was the driving forces behind our educational services, when in reality, the national laws of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) are the legal RIGHTS of families and students. Therefore, Linda was forced to leave the employment of public education and became the wonderful advocate she is today.

Linda’s mission is to educate and empower parents and professionals on how to design and implement special education programs for success. Linda understands the modern-day special needs family and the struggles families are facing in both the education and medical communities. As an advocate, Linda is able to help families navigate the all too often confusing waters of special education with goals towards receiving the full and appropriate services a child “needs” based on their individual disability.


Empower  verb      give (someone) the authority or power to do something. Synonyms: emancipate, unshackle, set free, Liberate, permit, allow, qualify, enable, and equip                    make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

Crusader  noun       A Fighter: synonyms: campaigner, fighter, champion, advocate                                a person who campaigns vigorously for change

Advocate  noun     a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. Synonyms: supporter, backer, proponent, spokesperson, campaigner, fighter, crusader, advisor


Contact Linda:


(973) 534-3402

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