Press: Charlotte Observer

Tan Educational Consulting was the subject of a recent article in The Charlotte Observer's South Charlotte News.  Thank you, Charlotte Observer!

Friday, Sep. 27, 2013

Charlotte coach guides parents through special education maze

The world of special education contains tricky codes that parents are left to decipher on their own. It’s filled with words and acronyms like IEP, 504, LRE and accommodation, just to name a few. While parents want what’s best for their children, it’s sometimes hard to know what “the best” is, especially when mounds of paperwork are filled with unfamiliar language.

It’s for this reason that Pam Tan, 44, decided to start an educational consulting business, Tan Educational Consulting, geared towards helping parents of children with learning disabilities.

Tan, a Cotswold resident, is a former special education teacher and taught for over 10 years in both public and specialized private schools in Charlotte. She left teaching to stay home and raise her family, but once her three children were all in school, she knew it was time to go back to work.

“One of the biggest reasons I decided to start an educational consulting business instead of teaching again is because of my experience with my oldest child. He struggled to learn to read and had difficulty with oral and written expression,” Tan says.

Although her teaching experience helped grow her passion for helping students with special needs, it was her personal experience with her own son that made her realize the difficulty that parents go through when one of their children is in the special education system.

“We went through a series of tests and it took over a year to finally get the right diagnosis for him. It’s such an emotional and frustrating journey.”

Tan knew there had to be other parents out there who must have felt the same defeat as she had during the diagnosis process. Although she had taught special education, she still struggled to determine the right steps towards helping her son’s success in the classroom.

“I understood the whole process, the terminology used and the testing results and I was still confused. It gave me the idea of helping other parents navigate through the system,” Tan says.

Tan’s services are comprehensive as she works to assist parents who need guidance. She helps families understand their child’s testing results, the rights and laws governing the special education process and will even accompany parents to meetings with school personnel.

“It can be an overwhelming experience when parents are just beginning the testing process with a child. It’s important for parents to do their homework,” says Tan.

Tan suggests parents follow certain steps to ensure a smooth start in special education testing.

“Parents need to find a psychologist that will be a good fit for their child. Most children experience some level of anxiety about the testing so it’s important to use the right words to explain the testing. Parents should let their child know they will be doing activities that will help the parents and teachers understand how they learn best so they can succeed at school,” Tan says.

Tan’s overall goal is for students and their families to fully understand their rights and the best fit for their education.

“There are many challenges in our education system today. One of the biggest challenges that families face regarding the education of their children with special needs is making sure their children receive an appropriate education. They need to be challenged, but also receive the accommodations necessary for their success in the classroom,” Tan says.

Ashley Icard is a freelance writer for South Charlotte News. Have a story idea for Ashley? Email her at

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Posted on October 14, 2013 and filed under Press.