Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions with respect to our services. Please feel free to email us with additional questions.

Kids First Collaborative Special Education Advocate IEP Consultant Chicago Illinois

Please describe the intake process for counseling services.


We believe it is a great privilege to walk alongside our clients, and we deeply value the counseling relationship. We understand that clients often come into initial counseling appointments feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. We want each and everyone of our clients to feel listened to, heard, and supported. During the 90-minute intake appointment, we meet clients where they are at and seek to understand their perspectives, values, support systems, strengths and therapeutic needs. We invite clients to complete comprehensive intake paperwork prior to the initial office visit. Please complete an inquiry form to connect with Dr. Kimberly Melton Lechner and to schedule an initial appointment.

Kids First Collaborative Special Education Advocate IEP Consultant Chicago Illinois

Do you offer counseling services online/virtually?

We are so pleased to offer both face-to-face and virtual counseling services to clients throughout the state of Illinois. Our Telehealth services or online counseling services are provided on a HIPPA-compliant platform that ensures confidentiality. Online counseling allows us to reach clients who prefer to participate from the comfort of their own homes, clients who live outside of our community, as well as clients who have mobility challenges that impact their ability to access our Wheaton office.

Kids First Collaborative Special Education Advocate IEP Consultant Chicago Illinois

Do you accept private pay clients as well as clients who prefer to use their insurance?

We believe that everyone can benefit from the therapeutic support, encouragement, and wellness that comes from the counseling relationship. Some clients demonstrate needs consistent with a DSM-V diagnosis and are eligible to use their insurance benefits. We do not currently accept insurance, but we are happy to provide a “super bill” that clients may submit to their insurance carriers for possible out-of-network benefits. Other clients may need individualized support but either do not require a clinical diagnosis or perhaps they do not wish to use their insurance benefits. Private pay clients can pay online or in person prior to each appointment.

Special Education Advocate IEP Consultant Chicago Illinois

Do you conduct evaluations to determine whether a child has a learning disability or is otherwise eligible for special education services?

We conduct comprehensive cognitive, academic, and social-emotional evaluations to identify children’s unique strengths and needs. Our evaluators are licensed school psychologists who have conducted countless evaluations to help determine eligibility for special education services and to support educational planning. School districts are required to review and consider results of private evaluations. However, all decisions regarding eligibility and entitlement are made by IEP teams (which include parents as meaningful participants).


If I decide to pursue educational consulting services through Kids First, what happens next?

Our intake process begins with a detailed interview as well as a review of educational records. You will complete initial forms regarding your child's educational history including any interventions, special education evaluations, eligibility, services, and supports. Next, you'll provide your Kids First consultant with copies of your child's current IEP or Section 504 plan (if applicable) as well as previous evaluations and educational documents. After your Kids First consultant has reviewed your child's records, you will meet to discuss initial impressions and to review recommendations.  


How would you describe your approach to advocacy?

Our approach is collaborative, relationship-oriented, and most of all kid-focused. We pride ourselves on being strong listeners, creative thinkers, and clear communicators. We want to have a lasting positive effect on the families, students, and educators with whom we work. Our approach is not adversarial in nature. Yet, our consultants are quite comfortable navigating conflict and resolving disagreements when necessary. We believe that all families should have the tools to effectively advocate for their children, and we are here to empower and support families. 

Education Advocacy in the Chicago area in Illinois

Do I need to inform my child's school team that I am working with an educational consultant? 

We absolutely encourage families to inform their school teams that they've decided to work with a consultant. We are committed to working with your school team in a way that focuses energy and resources on what matters most... your child! Still, every family's needs and communication style is different. If you do not need direct advocacy services, and you're just interested in having a Kids First consultant review your child's records, make suggestions for improvements, and coach you about how best to advocate for your child, you have every right to confidentiality in that process. Kids First Consultants will not communicate with your school team without your written consent. 

Children advocacy Chicago

Do you work with all school districts or are there specific districts with whom you don't work?

We are so glad you asked! We provide counseling and assessment services for school-aged children from across the Chicagoland area and beyond. However, Dr. Lechner does not provide direct special education advocacy services for families within Glen Ellyn School District 41. As a member of the parent community, Dr. Lechner is deeply engaged in volunteer efforts within D41. She is committed to serving as a resource for D41 families, and she is happy to refer families to one of our collaborators or to another qualified professional for advocacy services. If you are a D41 parent who is in need of a referral, please do not hesitate to reach out.