|Collaborative Advocacy™ Associates
Effective Advocacy for Children with Special Learning Needs™
|© Collaborative Advocacy™ Associates 2001-2018.
All Rights Reserved.
Noreen J. O’Mahoney, C.S.W., S.D.A.
Founder & Director
Collaborative Advocacy Associates (CAA) was founded by Noreen J. O’
Mahoney as a professional firm dedicated to providing families with
comprehensive educational advocacy services in support of children with
special learning needs.
Ms. O’Mahoney's commitment to collaborative advocacy has been
developed professionally, as well as through her role as a parent of
children with special learning needs.
Ms. O’Mahoney received her advanced degree in School District
Administration from the State University of New York, and her Masters in
Social Work from Syracuse University. She is a licensed School District
Administrator and School Social Worker with more than 35 years
experience in Connecticut and New York.
She has served as: a member of numerous child study teams; chair of
parent advisory committees; chair of Committees on Special Education;
program development specialist of individualized case coordination
councils; clinical coordinator of an alternative high school. She has also
trained school personnel on a statewide level to identify and service
children’s unique academic and emotional needs. As a special
education advocate, she has completed numerous special education
and advocacy training programs, including the State of Connecticut’s
respected Partners in Policymaking Program.
Ms. O’Mahoney is a past member of the executive board of SPED*NET,
the Special Education Network of Wilton, Ltd,. a non-profit corporation
organized exclusively for educational purposes, more
specifically, to educate the public about special needs, special education
and disability-related issues. She is on the Professional Advisory Board
of The Pilot House Special Needs Resource Foundation in Fairfield, CT
and is a member of the Connecticut Association for Children and Adults
with Learning Disabilities (CACLD) a non-profit organization committed
to helping children and adults with Learning Disabilities and Attention
She is the co-author of the well-received, web book: Bringing
Knowledge to the Table: How To Be An Effective Advocate for Your Child,
as well as other professional articles on special education
Ms. O'Mahoney has been an invited presenter at statewide
conferences and numerous parent training seminars. In addition, she
makes herself available to speak to organizations seeking to educate
and empower parents with the information they need to become effective
advocates on behalf of their children.
THE CAA TEAM
Expertise to Meet Any Need
Allene "Allie" Nicolari-Grafman, M.S.
Special Education Advocate
Allie Nicolari-Grafman’s entire professional career has been devoted to helping
children with special learning needs in the public school environment. For nearly 35
years she has served the needs of this vulnerable population as a tutor, special
education teacher and school administrator. Now, as part of the CAA Team, she uses
her extensive experience in these roles to work directly with the families of these
children to ensure that they have the appropriate educational programs in place to
meet their needs.
Most recently, Ms. Nicolari-Grafman served as Coordinator of Special Education for
Guilford, CT Public Schools for the pre-school and elementary levels. Prior to that she
served ten years collectively as Coordinator of Special Education for Guilford High
School and Guilford Middle Schools. She served as the Director of the school district’s
Extended School Year Program, following many years as a special education teacher
at the middle school level.
Through her many years with the Guilford district, Ms. Nicolari-Grafman was
intimately involved in the development, implementation and administration of all
aspects of the district’s special education programs. In her most recent role, she was
instrumental in developing Guilford’s program for serving children diagnosed with
Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Ms. Nicolari-Grafman graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor's
Degree in Special Education and Psychology, and earned her Master’s degree in
Special Education and Learning Disabilities from Southern Connecticut State
University. Ms. Nicolari-Grafman has also completed the advanced certification
program in Educational Leadership and Supervision, and Special Education
Consultation, from Southern Connecticut State University.
Janine M. Kelly
Special Education Advocate
Janine Kelly has been helping families advocate for their children with special
learning needs for more than a decade, by assisting them in understanding the special
education process, preparing for PPT meetings, and communicating more effectively
with their school teams.
After her years of practicing law as a civil litigation attorney, and then raising her own
child with special needs, Mrs. Kelly began re-focusing her communication, negotiation
and conflict resolution skills to help families, school faculty and administrators work
collaboratively through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process.
For the past 10 years, she has had the opportunity to work closely and collaboratively
with parents, faculty and administrators on a range of issues related to special
education and 504 plans. Informed by her diverse experiences as a former litigator,
Mrs. Kelly is keenly aware of the need for parents of children with special needs to
understand the IEP process; communicate their child’s needs effectively, and work
collaboratively with their school teams in order to be an equal partner in their child’s
education. She is devoted to helping parents navigate the special education process
with confidence, mutual respect and efficiency.
Mrs. Kelly is a member of the Council for Parents, Attorneys, and Advocates
(COPAA). She participates in ongoing continuing education to keep current on evolving
special education law and policy through the Connecticut Bar Association, the National
Business Institute and Wrights Law: Special Education Law and Advocacy.
Mrs. Kelly has a Bachelor of Arts from the College of the Holy Cross and a Juris
Doctor from Vermont Law School. While she will not be practicing as an attorney in her
role with CAA, she is admitted to the Connecticut State Bar, the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the 2d Circuit, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.