Roberta Grogan is the parent of 2 young men, one of whom is in the initial stages of implementing Self Direction. In her life prior to having children of her own, Roberta enjoyed a career as a commercial real estate paralegal with a specialization in “due diligence reviews.” The practice of pulling apart documents and relevant regulations to expose potential hurdles to transactions, became a very useful tool as her eldest son was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. She became a quick study of the regulations governing Special Education in NYS and was placed squarely on the path to individual advocacy work as well as work at the local, state and national levels to help effectuate systems change. Collaboration has been the most used tool in her advocacy toolbox and one which she has found to be profoundly successful. “Presuming competence” was a mantra she developed early in her journey and one which she has championed at CSE tables, legislative summits, as a member of impactful coalitions and perhaps most importantly in her life with her family.
Roberta received her BS in Political Science from SUNY Oneonta. Having appreciated a decades long career working for firms such as Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison and Sullivan & Cromwell, she made the unlikely transition to the role of Admissions Director at her high school alma mater, St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay. It was there that Roberta saw her first Individualized Education Plan and learned the significance of teacher to student ratios. Her first child was born in 1997 and by 2000 was on his way to being diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Years of reading, research, collaboration and networking brought Roberta to become respected in advocacy communities as an advocate and as a parent trainer; well versed in school aged preparation for post secondary transition; a still active member for over a decade in the Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma (spearheaded by Advocates for Children); a graduate of a robust advocacy program known as Partners in Policymaking; and a member of several boards serving differently abled individuals in many different arenas, especially in the areas of self advocacy and the pursuit of independence.