Melissa's Story

Melissa Lopez is a New Mexico native.  She was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM.  Melissa was inspired by her children to become an IEP coach and began helping families navigate the process. Melissa’s journey into the special needs world began about 7 years ago when her eldest son was diagnosed with a severe speech impairment.  A few years later, Melissa gave birth to her third child that was diagnosed with Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder.  Having participated in many IEP meetings over that time, Melissa knew that her child’s access to education would depend on how much knowledge she could acquire about the process.  She quickly learned the importance of not only understanding the IDEA Law but also understanding parent rights and responsibilities.  She firmly believes that  knowledge is power.


  • Individual Education Program (IEP) Coach
  • Completed a six week IEP coach mentorship program with Catherine Whitcher, M.Ed.
  • Special Needs Advocate
  • Received a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and Masters Degree in Business Administration from New Mexico State University
  • Previously served as a member of the Board for the Rio Grande Down Syndrome Network in Albuquerque, NM
  • Participant at the Special Education Parent Advisory Council meetings for her children’s local school district
  • Completed several IEP workshops offered both locally and at the national level through the National Down Syndrome Congress.

Melissa is passionate about helping special need families create meaningful IEPs for their children with the least amount of conflict.  She is available to review existing IEPs or walk families through their first IEP process.  She is happy to work with families in a group setting or one-on-one.