Hello, Parents! Hello, Grandparents! Hello, Everyone!

Hello, Parents!  Hello, Grandparents!  Hello to anyone who’s trying to help children with disabilities grow and learn to become independent adults someday.

As a parent of two adults with disabilities, I know this is not an easy job.  It’s not a job one person can do alone and it’s a job a couple can’t do together-alone without help and resources beyond themselves.  When living and dealing with disability, we who are doing so know just one thing more than we know anything else:

Often the resources we need just aren’t there.

Period.

That is what this blog is about–living and dealing with disability and the resources to do so.

I got my education degree at the University of Kansas in 1971, four years before the first special education laws came out.  In 2008, I earned my Master’s degree in higher education administration at Florida International University (FIU).

Here are my real credentials for this blog.  When my oldest son needed special education due to his ADHD in 1988, I found our school district and the State of Florida had allowed 14 years to pass by without addressing the needs of children with many invisible disabilities.  Worse, when presented with the need for accommodations and services for a child with ADHD, our school district flatly refused to serve!  A friend told me about Florida’s course to teach parents advocacy skills for IDEA, and an advocate was born.  I now have 2 adult children with disabilities and 25 years of experience in advocacy and consulting for education and disability.

I helped create parent-co-operative preschools and a program to link the services of FIU’s Disability Resource Center and Career Services Departments for students with disability.  I co-founded a not-for-profit organization that would now be a functioning nonprofit advocacy organization if my children’s needs had not taken precedence at a critical time in its growth.  I spent 12 years at the head of the South Dade Chapter of Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (CH.A.D.D.). I’ve learned how to do fundraising and grant writing.   I have developed as 45-hour course for parents on education rights/advocacy and homework help.  I developed a 48 hours course for regular education teachers about serving students with ADD/ADHD. I was instrumental in getting our school district to finally serve students with ADD and ADHD and things are better now.  I do education consultation and case management and go with parents to IEP meetings.  I am online in several disability-related groups.  Nothing gratifies me more than to see people’s lives improving as we make the changes that requires.

And I’ve “written the book.”

My work at Florida International University in the Disability Resource Center gave me insight into the outcomes for the children with disabilities who are capable of getting admission to a college or university.  It’s not so pretty.  What I saw was truly disheartening.  80% of these students can’t make it successfully through the first year, despite good grades in high school and great college entry exam scores!

That insight spurred me to write a book, COLLEGE READINESS AND DISABILITY: Parent Guide to Creating College Success For
Students With Disabilities.  In this book, I might have written a line about taking the challenging classes and those that lay the foundation for college entry.  Maybe.  I felt it is more important to give parents and anyone who works with students with disabilities an understanding of how to give these students the five things nobody teaches us:

    1. Understand the disability and how it affects the student’s learning
    2. Understand how the student learns (learning style + disability + personality+ resources)
    3. Know how to self-advocate and be willing to ask for help when needed
    4. Understand and be able to meet the demands of college
    5. Recognize limits and start small to assure success

Successful strategies by successful students are in College Readiness, so you can have them to teach your child for his own success.  Thorough explanations of how certain aspects of disability may affect a child’s learning and social skills will help you understand your child better and choose appropriate ways to teach him when he’s not in school.  Everything in this book is designed to empower parents and strengthen parenting skills and knowledge base so that when you are grooming your child for college, you are working from a position of strength and accurate knowledge.

College Readiness will be published in e-book format and will be printed on demand as well.  It is scheduled to publish this spring.  Watch for it!  If your child is potentially college material, or if you know someone who is, this is one book you won’t want to miss!

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One Response

  1. Hi Michele, this is Karin from Linkedin. I have subscribed to your blog, which is fascinating so far! Anyway, as per my article, my email is bzzykaz@aol.com . As I mentioned on linkedin, I wouldn’t be surprised if this article turns into a book with all of the information I am accumulating! Thanks! Karin

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