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Do I Need an Educational Consultant for My Family?

By World Family Education and April Remfrey

It’s not always easy to find good educational options for your child while living internationally. Sometimes asking for professional help is the best way to determine your child’s needs and how to meet them in your setting.

An educational consultant can offer educational advice or guidance to handle a variety of challenges. These include:

  • identifying the best mode of education for your child
  • navigating a new educational system
  • transitioning to a new school
  • learning a new language or maintaining the child’s native tongue
  • finding services for a child with special needs
  • choosing or developing homeschool curriculum
  • preparing for university
  • receiving moral support along your educational journey

For these issues, a consultant or coach with international experience and qualifications in education is a great partner to have. Look for a consultant well versed in your home country’s educational system so they know what you are coming from and returning to. Ideally they would have been trained, credentialed, and experienced in the educational system of your home country (or similar system). It would also be good for them to understand the national and international educational system of your host country. 

If you need a consultant to write an individualized educational plan (IEP) to be used in a school or homeschooling, they should be trained and licensed accordingly.

In certain cases, your company or organization may provide an educational consultant, so be sure to ask if they do. Some international moving companies offer an educational transition component to their services. And of course, independent consultants working around the world offer their expertise.

Special Needs Consultants

A family having a child with special needs can benefit greatly from working with a consultant trained and experienced in your child’s exceptionality. He or she can help you answer questions related to educational challenges while living internationally, such as:

  • Are there schools that can meet my child’s needs in the place I will be living?
  • What can I do if there are no schools with special services?
  • What are the proper assessments I need for my child, and where can I get them done?
  • What kind of therapies do I need for my child, and where can I find sources for them?
  • How do I interpret this testing data and the report that came with it?
  • Can I get help finding the right homeschool curriculum for my child with special needs?
  • Is there someone who can write an educational plan for my child?
  • Can I find an advocate to help me get the services my child needs?

An experienced educational consultant may be exactly what your family needs to navigate these challenges and thrive in your current location.

Services Consultants May Provide

Consultation and coaching services can be done in person or remotely via emails or calls. A consultant typically offers support in three time frames: 

  • event-based — Consulting is provided for a specific event, such as helping a family find the best school in their new city or advocating for a student in a difficult situation. 
  • series of coaching sessions — A series of sessions can help a family work through a particular educational issue, such as transitioning to or from homeschooling.
  • annual subscriptions — A consultant is on retainer to answer educational questions or help with issues that arise during that time frame, such a homeschooling family looking for ongoing support and feedback throughout the year.

The cost of these services varies depending on the type of service, length of service, and specialization of the service.

The Consultation Process

Depending on the help needed, consulting can be delivered in a variety of ways. April Remfrey describes the consulting process she typically takes families through to find and work with a school in their location. She specializes in helping families with children having special needs who are relocating internationally.

  • intake call — The first step in the process is an online or in person conversation. This conversation typically covers identifying the family’s needs and how the consultant can be of assistance.
  • sign a contract and confidentiality forms — After the consultant has proposed acceptable services and both the family and consultant have agreed on terms, the family signs a contract and forms that allow the consultant to speak to the child’s teachers and service providers. This confidentiality form also allows the consultant to speak with potential schools. It is also common for the consultant to require advanced payment. 
  • service — The consultant collects all supporting documentation (i.e., individualized education plan (IEP), testing reports) on the student’s needs, interviews three to four previous teachers and service providers, and interviews potential schooling options. This consolidation of information is essential during the application process, enabling the prospective school to assess the exact needs of the student and make a realistic decision regarding their ability to successfully serve his or her needs. The consultant offers consistent feedback to the family to understand where they are at in the process.
  • family receives school feedback — After potential schools are identified, the family needs to apply to the school directly. If desired, the consultant can set up school tours and even accompany the family if geographic limitations do not exist. The consultant helps generate important questions to ask the school during the school visit, then debriefs with the family after the visit.
  • end of service — The consultant service relationship is usually complete after the student has been accepted at a school. However, the family will get a follow-up email asking how the beginning of the school year is going. Sometimes another contract is created if the family needs additional assistance.

April Remfrey is an American special needs consultant living and loving life in Switzerland. April helps globally mobile families as they search for the best school for their child with special needs.

Educational Coaches and Consultants

Educational consultation services known to World Family Education are listed below. If you know of services for international families that should be added to our directory, contact us.

Disclaimer: The resources listed here are included as a service to families living internationally and do not constitute endorsement by World Family Education.

Anchor Education — Educational consulting services and conferences for expatriate parents, students, other individuals and companies, primarily in Africa and the Middle East.

Services in Asia for Family Education (SAFE) — Services, consulting, and conferences for homeschooling English-speaking Christian expatriates in Asia.

Bilingual Monkeys — Personal coaching for parents seeking to maximize their child’s bilingual development.

Carolyn Rizzo — Coaching for parents living internationally who either have a medical diagnosis of their own or a child with a life-altering health condition or injury. She also offers consultation on age-appropriate education and preparation for medical procedures (especially with kids who have special needs). Based in Italy.

Crisfield Educational Consulting — Supports parents raising bilingual children with seminars and information related to language learning. 

Deborah Kramlich — Consulting for families who are educating children in another culture and/or language, including language acquisition, learning disabilities, and transition to university. 

Grace International School (Chiang Mai) Extension Services — Consulting and resources for Christian worker expats homeschooling in Thailand.

Hand in Hand Resources and Consulting — U.S.-based counseling for individuals and families who need help with international transitions.

Prior Learning — Consulting with international families and schools about special needs, gifted, and talented educational services.

Remfrey Educational Consulting — Special education consulting for international families.

RNG International Educational Consulting — Comprehensive educational planning and solutions for international families facing a variety of issues, such as learning differences, struggling learners, transition to university, finding a boarding school, and more.  

SHARE Education Services — Services, consulting, and conferences for English-speaking Christian workers living in Europe, Russia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.