How do I rebuild trust on my IEP team once its gone? Monday, Aug 13 2012 


I know the feeling. You feel like the school has betrayed you. The IEP team didn’t agree with your recommendations, you had to fight them, and now your IEP meetings feel like a very uncomfortable party where the host isn’t wearing any pants. I’ve been there, and I have some advice on how to get that trust back.

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I was on the radio! My Rivers of Faith with Donna Tyson interview. Thursday, May 31 2012 


Hey everyone. Just a quick blurb. I was on the Rivers of Faith radio show with Donna Tyson. She also interviewed another parent, Cheri Goodwin Britton.  It was fun, and pretty informative. You can check it out on their website. Its also available on Itunes. Thanks for having me, Donna!

2012 Commonwealth of Virginia General Assembly: Autism Action Items Tuesday, Jan 10 2012 


Okay, the Commonwealth of 2012 Virginia General Assembly starts today and those of us in the Virginia autism community should roll up our sleeves. This year is a long session and we have a lot to do.I’m focusing my efforts on a few things, and recommend everyone out there do the same.

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Is it medical or educational? Wednesday, Dec 7 2011 


I recently watched a local news story that upset me. You can watch it yourself at the WUSA Channel 9 site. It is about a 6 year old boy who came home wearing a weighted belt, which is an OT support used to help kids regulate themselves. The mother was quite upset and is calling it a case of restraint.

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Election Day 2011 Tuesday, Nov 8 2011 


This is my annual exhortation to my readers to vote. I would say that our contentious times require our vote, but we have a responsibility to vote whether or not there are difficult decisions to be made. I don’t align myself with any party, but instead try to vote for the person I feel will do the best job representing my interests, my family’s interests, my client’s interests and the community’s interests. If you want things to change, especially on the local level, you need to vote. My recommendations for the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania races I’m voting in are below.

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The Training Quandary Wednesday, Oct 26 2011 


I often hear from teachers, parents, administrators, therapists, social workers and even adults on the autism spectrum that there is not enough training and knowledge out there for our population. That means that almost everyone involved in the debate agrees that there has not been enough training or there are not enough trained personnel to deal with the up and coming explosion in the autism population. However, when I personally ask teachers and administrators to get more training for their staff, I am almost always rebuffed. Why?

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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA: Part 2 Q & A with DOE Monday, Oct 24 2011 


To continue and expand on our discussion of FERPA, I called the Department of Education for some clarification. The number I used was 800-872-5327 (800-USA-LEARN). I reached a courteous and knowledgeable woman who had some great answers to my questions. I didn’t tape it, nor did I get her permission to quote her, so the replies are my paraphrasing based on my notes of our conversation. If you have questions, I encourage you to call DOE. Be prepared for the post call survey though, which will come a few days later. It freaked me out when a recorded voice said “This is the Department of Education…”

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They’re our kids, not our causes. Sunday, Oct 23 2011 


As the dad of a kid with autism I go to battle a lot. I fight stereotypes, debate our politicians and argue with the school. However, as much as I am passionate about the causes involved in autism I am still aware of why I’m fighting. I’m fighting for my son.

Its easy, when I get into heated debate mode, to start “letting people have it.” I’m a fairly witty guy with a knack for turning a quick phrase, and consequently I have the dubious gift of being able to make people feel inept or uneducated. However, when I start to go down that road I try to ask myself a few questions.

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Need some help with school advocacy? Try V.O.P.A.! Thursday, Oct 20 2011 


Okay, we all know that the folks in the school try hard. In spite of that, sometimes things go wrong. None of us parents want to do some of the things we say, like hire an attorney, sue the school, or complain to the state and federal departments of education. However, sometimes we know the school is doing something wrong but, since we’re not educators, we don’t know how to say what is wrong in a way the school will understand. If you’re in Virginia, you can get some help from V.O.P.A., the Virginia Office of Protection and Advocacy.

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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA: Part 1 Friday, Sep 9 2011 


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, is a handy federal law for parents with kids with disabilities. It protects the privacy of student education records, but it also gives parents rights to access those records. That’s the part of the law we will be chatting about today.

First off, you can find the law here on ED.gov, the Department of Education’s web portal. The site has good information everywhere, but you can read the full act online here at GPOAccess.gov. Its good reading, and we’ll be choosing a few specific parts to highlight.

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