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Marie Lewis

Marie Lewis is a Neuro-Developmental Disability Case Manager (NDDCM), Education Consultant (Board Certified Education Advocate- (BCEA)  & Behavior Specialist Consultant (BSC). She is a clinical consultant, trained in neurology, psychology and behavioral health. She has served as the Executive Director of the National Center for Autism Resources and Education and is the Clinical Director and on the faculty of the National Special Education Advocacy Institute*, since 2008, where she teaches parents and professional education advocates nationally. She is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of Education Advocacy best practices, Autism, Transitional Planning, and Inclusion and has lectured nationally for disability groups, school districts, parent support groups and at multiple CME and CLE and teacher CE programs. She has additionally testified in Due Process and  court cases.


Marie Lewis was a Registered Nurse on the Neurosurgical Unit and head nurse on the Piersol Rehabilitation Center at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital and was a hospital administrator. She has been a clinical disability case manager and behavior specialist for families for over 20 years with extensive ABA and VB experience. She has a Masters's degree in (Applied/ Spiritual) Psychology and a Ph.D. in Psychology. Her Field Study was a “Meta-Analysis of Intensive Behavioral Interventions for Children with Autism.”


Dr. Marie Lewis' experience includes:

• Adjunct Professor in Criminal Justice, at Kaplan University

        Teaching Psychology,  Juvenile Delinquency, and Career Development

        Course work also included criminal justice issues related to those with disabilities
• Testifying before the US Department of Education, and in State and Federal Courts related to a Free and Appropriate Public Education
• The Executive Director of the National Center for Autism Resources and Education, NCARE

• The Clinical Director, and on the faculty, of the National Special Education Advocacy Institute

         NSEAI the only organization that nationally board certifies professional education advocates.

• Consultant to special education law programs in multiple states
• Inclusion Specialist and Behavioral Consultant to several special-needs private schools and public schools

• Utilization Review and Quality Improvement Professional at Presbyterian, University of Pennsylvania Hospital

• Acting Head Nurse at the Piersol Rehabilitation Center, University of Pennsylvania Hospital

• Serving on the advisory boards and boards of national and regional disability-related organizations including:

o  Board of the National Center for Autism Resources and Education, NCARE
o The Board of the ARC of Chester County
o The Legislative Committee of the ARC of Chester County
o The ARC of PA Adult Committee
o The Board of Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy
o The Transition Council of Philadelphia (founding member)
o PA Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE),

     at the University of Pennsylvania - An Advisory Board Member
o The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), Development Committee
o Grant Writer and Administrator for, The Arc of the United States and Walmart Foundation  School-To-Community Transition Grant,

    for the ARC of Philadelphia's Creating Environments For Ongoing Success Program.

• She has been honored with:

• A Pennsylvania Senate Citation for her pro-bono work in educational advocacy for children in our community and her tireless work in training education advocates.
• The prestigious President’s Volunteer Service Award by President Obama. She was recognized for her outstanding volunteer contributions in community service to the United States, and for volunteering  hundreds of hours per year helping and training others related to education advocacy.

• A U.S. House of Representatives Citation for her education advocacy work and training of advocates nationally.  “The success of this Commonwealth, the strength of our communities and the overall vitality of American society depend, in a great measure, upon the tenacity of individuals such as Dr. Lewis who use their considerable talents, energies, and resources to serve and assist others. She truly exemplifies the best qualities of the human experience, and her spirit of perseverance and compassion have greatly impacted the
lives of others.”

• The ARC of Chester County Volunteer of the Year Award.

Marie Lewis has journeyed the special education maze personally as a parent and advocate with two sons with the diagnosis of autism (and an array of other diagnoses including sensory integration disorders, expressive, receptive and pragmatic language disorders, anxiety, ODD, depression, specific learning disabilities, obsessive-compulsive disorder, auditory processing disorders, executive functioning deficits, fine motor and gross motor deficits, dysgraphia, low tone, and post-traumatic stress disorders).  Her daughter was medically challenged and is gifted. As the mother, of three children with special education needs, she has learned how to improve communication between parents and school districts and facilitate the development of individualized instruction, to which the U.S. Congress and the courts have determined that children with disabilities are entitled. She assists parents in getting a “free and appropriate education” through child and functional outcome-focused IEPs not just "legally sufficient" ones.


Providing an appropriate education for a child with special needs often requires clear identification of their clinical needs and translating them into educational needs, so that child-specific- specially design instruction (SDI) (accommodations or modifications to curriculum, instructional setting) will be applied so they can access their education effectively.

The true waste of taxpayer dollars is not in providing appropriate special education, but in failing to.

Many of these children can and do become taxpaying citizens when appropriately educated and transitioned to adulthood.

When not appropriately educated, they may require taxpayer assistance for rest of their lives.

Marie Lewis is hired directly by parents and offers educational consulting services in preparation for IEP meetings, inter-agency meetings, manifestation determination meetings, insurance hearings, mediation, and juvenile court hearings. She is cross-trained in the education, clinical related services, behavioral consulting, and  procedural safeguards - all important aspects of disability case management advocacy.  She has specific skills and knowledge about documentation and identification of individualized educational needs, types of evaluations, how disabilities affect accessing education, research-based programming, IEPs, behavioral and educational specially designed instruction, procedural safeguards, educational and insurance negotiations, and non-adversarial dispute resolution methodologies.

Board Certified Education Advocate

Marie Lewis has extensive knowledge about IDEA, NCLB, Section 504 & ADA. As a Board Certified Educational Advocate (BCEA), Marie promotes and suppports the development of an appropriate IEP or 504 plan than integrates educational clinical and community support services for those with learning disabilities and those in need of gifted education . She facilitates the identification of educational needs and their unique presentation, the development of individualized goals, services & programs for an individualized educational plan, with the intent of achieving documented meaningful benefit and progress as well as closing the educational gaps as compared to student peers. These plans identify and address the child’s educational needs while creating societal inclusion, generalized functional skills, and adequate measurable progress in both the educational and community environments. A strength based approach is taken with a team focus on collaboration and respectful partnerships. 


Marie Lewis is recognized as a leading advocacy resource and consults on complex cases nationally. Issues may include specialized interventions, research based programmings, private placement, inclusion, level of supports, discipline/ behavioral issues, educational need identification, identification of appropriate independent evaluations, progress monitoring data analysis, conflict resolution, functional and independent skill performance, generalization of skills, transition, self determination, procedural safeguards ...


Neuro-Developmental Disabilities include a diverse group of severe or chronic conditions, syndromes, impairments or injuries.  Marie Lewis coordinates the complex maze of federal, state, community based and insurance services and resources and develops or coordinates a community support service plan. Marie has consulted on a broad base of complex Neuro-Developmental Disability cases that include but are not limited to:


  • Apraxia

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD / ADHD)

  • Auditory Processing Disorders

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

  • Behavioral Issues

    • Suspensions, Expulsions, ABA  Home based Plans

  • Cerebral Palsy

  • Cognitive Disorders

  • Dyslexia

  • Dysgraphia

  • Epilepsy

  • Executive Functioning Disorders

  • Fine Motor Disorders

  • Genetic Syndromes

    • Down Syndrome, Fragile X, DCC

  • Gross Motor Disorders

  • Hearing Impairment

  • Intellectual Disability

  • Neuro-muscular Disorders / Myopathy

  • Non-Verbal Learning Disability

  • Other Health Impairments that affect access to education

  • Physical Disabilities

  • Psychological / Mental Health Disorders

    • ODD, OCD, Depression,  Anxiety, Bipolar, Schizophrenia

  • Sensory Processing Disorders

  • Social Communication & Pragmatic Language Deficits

  • Specific Learning Disabilities: 

    • Reading, Writing, Spelling, Math

    • And their related clinical disorders

  • Speech and Language Impairments

    • Access, training and use of AAC devices

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Visual Impairments

    • CVI

    • Functional Vision including: Visual tracking and convergence

Behavior Specialist

As a Behavior Specialist, Marie Lewis does a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA), performs a Functional Analysis and develops a Positive Behavioral Support Plan (PBSP)  with an understanding that all behavior communicates a need. Plans and services are individually designed and are provided to target maladaptive behaviors that jeopardize safety, education and the ability to be included in one's community of choice. These services are provided in the environment where these behavior occurs.


Positive Behavior Improvement Services (PBIS) services include but are not limited to:


  • A comprehensive assessment of the individual's behaviors, base lines of skills and strengths


  • The development and implementation of a detailed holistic behavioral treatment plan based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).


  • Development of specific goals to decrease intensity and frequency of targeted behaviors and replace behavior with safer and more socially and educationally appropriate behaviors is done, as well as teaching new skills.


  • Training related to the PBSP interventions is implemented for all those with contact with a student in either structured school or en-vivo -natural environments in the home and community.


  • Regular reassessments and adjustments to the PBSP are done to maintain effectiveness and identify changing behavior functions.


  • Development of an emergency intervention plan as warranted to keep the child and others safe.


  • Continuous data collection is done to measure progress, assist in revising interventions for maximum behavioral benefit and  assure that new skills are reinforced, maintained and generalized to other settings.

  • Marie is also a certified Mental Health First Responder.

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