Monday, February 29, 2016

The Problem with Special Education

Is "special" education really one big oxymoron? Check out this article:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Parent Focus: Addressing Disputes in the IEP Process

Unfortunately, there are times as a parent that you may not agree with decisions that are made about your services or you may question the way in which services have been provided to your child in the classroom.

Even if you feel passionate about your right to dispute, there is still a way in which you are to go about it. Simply filing a complaint will not be enough if you have not crossed all your T's and dotted your I's.

  • Make sure that you have followed the correct hierarchy. This means that you (1) Spoke with the regular education and special education teachers about your concerns, (2) You communicated with the school principal or other administrator. (3) You reached out to your local EC program manager/administrator at the central office or district level.
  • Everything should be in writing. Send emails as often as possible to establish a paper trail. Even if you speak to an individual by phone, follow up with an email re-establishing your talking points and the outcomes of the phone conversation. An follow up email would be: Thank you Ms. Madison for talking to me today about Timmy's struggles in math. I'm looking forward to you working with him on his addition and subtraction in a small group environment. Please send me any data that you collect regarding his progress in this area so that I can support him at home.
  • Remain as composed as possible, even if you have developed a total dislike for your child's teachers and the school. Emotions tend to run high whenever parents are angry about their children, especially when it comes to special education. You will be able to accomplish more if you keep a cool head and make decisions based on outcomes from any meetings or conversations that take place.
  • When you prepare to write a complaint, be specific about your concerns/ Instead of saying Ms. Madison is a bad teacher, you should state what she did or did NOT do. Ex: Ms. Madison failed to provide the small group instruction that we discussed in our meeting even though my son continued to receive failing grades in her class. I emailed the special education, asking her to provide strategies for Ms. Madison to use, but never received a response. I emailed the principal asking for him to intervene, at which time he stated that he would get right on it. I asked to see any progress monitoring data that has been collected for Timmy but, to date, none has been supplied.
  • Consult with an advocate or legal expert to make sure that you have covered all possible avenues.

Remember, you are your child's best advocate. If you truly feel that he or she is not getting the appropriate education to meet his or her needs, do not hesitate to take action. The law is very specific about parents' rights and you only want what's in your child's best interest.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Strategies for Children with Attention Deficit Issues

Check out my website for a list of strategies that can be used for children with attention deficits, including those with ADD/ADD and autism spectrum disorders.

Go to and click on the EDITORIAL tab.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Life for Minority Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Check out my white paper which explores the impact later diagnoses have on the lives of minority children with autism spectrum disorders. Go to and click on the Health and Wellness tab.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Special Needs Moms ROCK!

All moms are awesome...but I just wanted to celebrate those of us who parent children with special needs. Our lives are never dull and we have to be ready for whatever whenever, literally changing into super woman ( Autism Mom is my personal alter-ego)at the drop of a dime! So to all moms of children who have special needs, you ROCK!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Understanding Your Child's IEP

Join me February 27 @ 6pm EST on Google Hangouts on Air for the webinar "Understanding Your Child's IEP." This webinar will give an overview of the IEP components and requirements in basic terms. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Creating Social Opportunities for Children with Autism

Join me March 19, 2016 at 6pm on Google Hangouts for a webinar on creating social opportunities for children with autism.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lesson Plan on Disability

Looking for a way to incorporate disability awareness as a mini lesson in the classroom? Is character development part of your school's curriculum? Or maybe you're a parent wanting to explain different abilities to your own children.  I have created a lesson, available through the Entertaining Oddballz that will allow you to engage your children in discussions with a visual presentation and embedded Stop & Think activities.

Let us know how we can get you this FREE lesson plan for your classroom or at home.

Contact: or

My Life My Autism

Check out our video @

Friday, February 12, 2016

New Podcast

I feel like My Life My Autism sounds pretty good, what do you think?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Speak Up, Speak Out

Sometimes we have to stand up and be a voice for those who can't speak for themselves. It's easy to walk by and pretend you don't see something wrong but the true measure of a person's character comes when he or she takes a stand, even if it means standing alone.

Fighting for our children sometimes means we stand alone against society, against schools,  against whatever it is that's creating a barrier to their success and well being.

Children need to know that we have their backs no matter what. Not only does this teache them loyalty, it teaches them resilience and self-advocacy too.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

My Life My Autism

Check out my updated website at

Project AuSome

Let's start a dialogue about how we can support individuals with autism at home, school, and in the community.

There is a lot of research devoted to the causes of autism,  but we also need to focus on other aspects such as early diagnosis, early interventions, transition into adulthood, financial aid just to name a few.

In my opinion, researching causal factors does little to help the millions of children and adults who are diagnosed with autism.  I personally think some of the funding should be used to create resources that will help cover the cost of daily living expenses like therapy, academic support or job preparation...the list goes on.

It's time we speak up and speak out!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Let's Kick Things Into Shape

I've said it before. We can't just sit back and wait for others to take action. It's up to each and every one of us to push for what is right, what is fair and what is just.
When my children were diagnosed,  I realized the importance of advocacy when I started to question their respective places in our society. Ideas like acceptance and awareness began to take shape and I understood, for the first time in my life, what it truly meant to fight.

So I'm fighting for all children,  all individuals with autism...with different abilities. I'm fighting for a society where the word normal is not used to describe human beings. A society where acceptance is not optional. A society where my children are not outsiders standing on the outside looking in.

Things don't have to be the way they are. We can kick things into shape...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Follow Me on Twitter!

Check out Dr Marquis Grant (@DrmarquisGrant):

Monday, February 1, 2016

Speak Up For Those Who Cannot Speak for Themselves

When I learned that my children had autism,  I remember feeling very much alone. Sure there were one or two parent support groups around but nothing that I really connected with. I really needed someone to talk to about what I was experiencing and how my role as a mom would change.

What I found was that autism is still relatively misunderstood. I had teachers ask me why my sons did certain things or express downright frustration with having them in the classroom. They have assumed my children couldn't grasp certain concepts rather than taking the time to think that maybe it was the manner in which the concept was taught that caused a breakdown in learning. Trust me, fighting for my children has been an uphill battle!

But I don't just fight for my children,  I fight for ALL children who have differences. I have never second-guessed the importance of advocacy, especially as it relates to children with different abilities. I realized early-on that I had the ability to do something positive through social media, through writing, through conferences and I will continue to do so with passion and commitment.