Special Education Advocacy with Ashley Barlow
Strategies You can Use at the IEP Table and Beyond During COVID 19

Strategies You can Use at the IEP Table and Beyond During COVID 19

April 13, 2021

Now that we’re seeing light at the end of the COVID tunnel, I thought you may be ready for an updated podcast episode on special education during the pandemic.  Today’s episode brings strategies you can use to effect change in your child’s special education – both now and for next school year – in light of all of the oddities the pandemic has brought on.  

 

I’ll share six strategies you can use to make some changes in your child’s IEP or to argue for compensatory education for him or her.  For each strategy I’ll share a couple of examples and ideas so you can apply them to your family’s situation!  

 

You’re not going to want to miss this one!  

Adding Empathy to Discussions at the IEP Table

Adding Empathy to Discussions at the IEP Table

March 29, 2021

“How can a heart understand the pain of another heart and still do nothing?” -Harshada Pathare.

I’m constantly asked by parents, “Why can’t they just do what the law says?”  My response is often, “Well, they should do what the law says, but if they do it because they’re told, it won’t be done well.  The real magic happens when they follow the law, because they care.”  Today’s episode is about empathy, which creates the buy-in from IEP team members that parents want and students deserve.

We’ll talk about empathy in the context of behavior, school refusal, and inclusion cases specifically.  I’ll also share a few of my experiences, both as a parent and as an educator, that will help you understand why it’s important to be vulnerable and to share your child’s experiences to enhance the awareness and real understanding of the adults in charge of executing your child’s IEP.

Making Sense of Evaluation Reports

Making Sense of Evaluation Reports

March 23, 2021

Evaluation reports can drive parents in special education absolutely crazy! I was talking to a friend last week, and she said that she was tempted to not even read the evaluation report! I totally empathize with parents that expressed the sentiment; however, the evaluation should be a building block for so many things in special education. In today’s episode I try to walk you through a few steps to make sense of evaluation reports. I hope it is helpful!

Allllll Things Dyslexia, Part THREE

Allllll Things Dyslexia, Part THREE

March 16, 2021

The Grand Finale---  Join me today for PART THREE of our big dyslexia podcast.  Daphne Corder, our big dyslexia guru, finishes up this three-part series with the big question.  How Do We Know If They’re Doing It Right?  Daphne takes us through common dyslexia interventions and how they should be implemented.  You’re not going to want to miss this episode!  

Allllll Things Dyslexia, Part TWO

Allllll Things Dyslexia, Part TWO

March 9, 2021

Soooo many of you reached out with compliments on last week’s podcast with Daphne Corder.  Good news…  she’s back!  In Part Two of our podcast, Daphne and I discuss conditions that often occur simultaneously with dyslexia.  Daphne walks us through each condition, providing definitions, examples, and then the most helpful thing- what to do!  Daphne’s insight on helping children with ADHD, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia is pure gold.  And at the end of the episode, she gives us an analogy for the importance of reading that will knock your socks off!  You’ll want to use this analogy in your next IEP meeting!  

Allllll Things Dyslexia

Allllll Things Dyslexia

March 2, 2021

Daphne Corder prepared an incredible, thorough presentation for my January Conference on Dyslexia called How Do You Know If They’re Doing the Right Thing? It was over an hour and so, so intensive.  The only problem: we couldn’t get the audio to play!  We tried a few things after the conference to no avail, so we chose the next best thing… a podcast!  This baby may be a three-parter.  Daphne and I recorded for 90 minutes, and there’s still MORE!  I would have condensed it, but this is the most streamlined yet thorough Dyslexia presentation I’ve ever seen!  It was too good to shorten.  No matter if you suspect your child has dyslexia, your child has dyslexia but isn’t on an IEP, or your child is already on an IEP, this series will knock your socks off!  

 

In this episode- Part 1- Daphne walks you through the importance of your advocacy with really mind-blowing statistics, some risk factors that you may notice about your child that may trigger you to get a dyslexia evaluation, and some common myths about dyslexia.  

A Deep Dive into Behavioral Support with Dr. David Kuhn

A Deep Dive into Behavioral Support with Dr. David Kuhn

February 23, 2021

I learned a lot about myself when Jack was a baby.  One of the most obvious things I learned is that I’m a “why” person.  I want to know the reason for stuff.  I want to know the “why.”  We worked on coming to midline, deliberately reaching away from midline, and crossing midline.  Sure, I would have done it, because the therapists said to, but I really needed to know why.  Why are we working on this skill?  What does this do to help Jack?  What’s going on in his brain or body that makes this so hard for him?  Why?  

 

This is why I immediately “clicked” with Dr. David Kuhn when introduced to him.  In our first conversation, David and I talked about Functional Behavior Assessments and ABC (antecedent-behavior-consequence) data.  He wasn’t two sentences into the discussion when he geeked out about the need to tweak consequences in order to zero in on the function of any particular behavior.  David was speaking my language.  If we don’t test our hypothesis by manipulating that consequence, how would we know if we have hit the “why?”  

 

In today’s episode Dr. Kuhn and I talk about this topic.  He explains the need to manipulate the consequences of behavior to test a hypothesis before writing a plan to support the behavior.  He takes behavior down to the science of testing the hypothesis, which makes it so simple.  

 

I invited David onto the podcast to talk about this particular issue, but as is usually the case, we came up with a much more broad conversation about FBAs, BIPs, and generally supporting children with behavioral needs at school and in their communities.  Of course, this must start with a very thorough analysis of the behaviors.  

 

David Kuhn is one of the good ones.  His incredible credentials and experience are fueled by a lifelong appreciation of and passion for helping people with disabilities.  No wonder he’s so smart!  

 

Episode you will also enjoy: https://ashleybarlowco.com/functional-behavior-assessments-and-behavior-intervention-plans-with-dr-solandy-forte/

Adding and All About Me Book to Your Advocacy at the IEP Table

Adding and All About Me Book to Your Advocacy at the IEP Table

February 16, 2021

You’ve probably heard me talk about All About Me Books, and you may be wondering what goes in this kind of document.  In today’s podcast episode, I walk you through All About Me Books (let’s just call them AAMBs) – why to draft them, what kind of information to include, how to format them, and how to use them in your advocacy.  

 

I like to start an AAMB with a good description of the child and the way the child’s diagnoses affect the child.  Then, I recommend that parents organize the additional pages by category.  Maybe that looks like a page each for OT, PT, Speech, academics, etc.  Maybe it looks like a page each for Reading, Reading Fluency, Math Computation, and Math Fluency.  However it looks will be unique to the child, but communicating it in an organized, objective manner will be such an asset to the rest of the IEP team.  I always end an AAMB with an expression of gratitude, an offer to help in any way, and a willingness to address any questions or concerns.  This kind of communication goes such a long way in setting a collaborative tone on an IEP team.  

 

I’ve also got a Freebie on my website that describes All About Me Books.  Hop over the link to download yours!!! https://ashleybarlowco.com/all-about-me-books

Three Common Mistakes Made in IEP Meetings

Three Common Mistakes Made in IEP Meetings

February 9, 2021

You’re getting the inside scoop on today’s podcast!  Tales from the trenches.  I sat down and thought about three common mistakes that people make in IEP meetings and am serving them up – with recommendations for doing better – for you today!  

The mistakes: Agreeing to decisions without the knowledge to back it up, not knowing the people on the team, and not reading “the stuff.”  I’m going to walk you through each mistake with examples and then provide you with strategies for doing better.  Then, we’ll tap into last week’s podcast with one additional collaboration tip – to avoid being adversarial, accusative, or combative during a meeting.  

The Fear of Conflict

The Fear of Conflict

February 2, 2021

In today's episode we talk about the thing everybody fears: conflict. We don't only talk about it, but I actually encourage conflict. Keep reading. It gets better. You see, I always say that conflict yields effective change. I believe in constructive discord , allowing everyone to be heard, accountability for all team members, and interest-based negotiation.  Sound better than conflict? Yes! Conflict does not have to include adversaries going toe to toe, fists banging on tables, and red faces.  I want to walk you through one of my favorite books, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni, applying each of his five points to the IEP team.  I bet you leave a little more empowered and ready to dive in with deeper, more meaningful conversations with the other people on your IEP team!

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