Special Skill–Could You Do This?

Go to http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2MBBxU and watch how an autistic man uses his skill in art to show that he has a nearly perfect photographic memory.  It’s an amazing piece about a unique person’s ability to capture the world around him on paper.

Top this off with a few minutes of meditation about your own special skills/abilities.  If your smile is contagious (or your yawn), you can have a ripple effect upon your world.  Go ahead, try it!  And on that note, think how you and what you must deal with might be inspiring to others…because you just KNOW you inspire somebody nearly every day.  Think about how it happens and use that awareness to help you make your way.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Michele, July 8, 2011

    Great blog, with all the right “stuff”. Raymond L Britt here. You requested I contact you regarding your message to me yesterday, and to answer your questions.

    Here goes:

    Strategy about complaints — Yes 504 is the main one I use. But, my strategy is also to use the state laws and statues for the least complicated complaints. Find that the major complaints should always go to 504. I won my first 504 complaint as a rookie, with major disabilities as well, due in.part to what I was going through with the education of my disabled daughter, PTSD from Vietnam, as well as other emotional difficulties.

    That win resulted in getting the appropriate busing for all the disabled children within the ISD to and from school on time as regular students were being provided Needless to say, I wasn’t very well liked by the districts. Didn’t get exactly what I desired, however, but I got the big win, forcing the ISD to pay over $500,000.00 for appropriate busing.to their disabled children. Some children were losing 1/2 day of instruction each day of the week, because of the way the districts method of busing disabled students to and from school.

    One other thing, though I have background in Law, I didn’t have any in Special Education Law. It took six months of studying every available chance to learn what I had to learn, while taking potent psychotrophic medications. This of course hindered me physically and mentally, but I did what I had to do.

    Even had the ISD Special Education Director as well as the LEA Superintendent politely ask me to leave their district, so I wouldn’t bother them any more. Ironically, I kept pursuing both of them, until one of them quit voluntarily, the superintendent was voted out by the school board, and one of the LEA Principals just gave it up early, because he knew I wasn’t going to let this one go. He certainly was also involved, and opted out early so that this one wasn’t going to be on his record. It would be advantageous for him not to have something like this on his employment record, to make it easier to obtain employment.

    I would not recommend for others to do what I did, however, but make an attempt to reasonably come to a mutual understanding, because it does take enormous time, energies, and efforts to come to a legal conclusion. Better to make the attempt, even though the district is doing what most districts do to curtail special education spending. At last resort, break out the big guns and open up on the adversary, because that is exactly what they are. They, ISDs and LEAs, certainly will not hesitate to stuff you in their pockets and walk all over the parents, teachers, other school personnel if they are allowed to. Most cases that is exactly what happens, or at least that is what I have found.

    My recommendation to all parents, advocates, special education teachers, IEP members, etc., is to always have the parents request both an IEP Committee meeting for IDEA and Section 504 at the same time. This most times baffles the chairman and superintendents which are calling the shots anyway when it comes times to spending federal and state monies for special education students. This helps speed up the process in getting what the parents desire for their disabled children.

    Sorry for the length, but that is my style of communicating.

    Michele, I appreciate all you do for the disabled children of America. If I may assist you, please do not hesitate to respond to me. And lastly, you have a wonderful, informative blog. Please continue to do what you do for the children. Respectfully and

    Sincerely,

    Raymond L. Britt

    • Raymond,
      Thank you for your comment. Sometimes what we do as advocates does confuse school districts, especially where there is no real desire to serve and therefore no true administrator education in special ed affairs, law or regulations. In these cases, I have taken the approach that the administrator must sincerely wish to know more so he/she could be more efficient, more effective on the job. In being a constant source of material and floppy disks/CDs loaded with info about disabilities, law, regs, etc., I became recognized as a resource to the districts where I had clients. I was not the adversary advocate, I was the library on wheels. It has helped immensely in many cases, since teachers talk more freely with me than with our adversarial advocates and I can teach parents how to work as a member of a team where this happens. At the least, when I am the information resource as well as advocate, the reception is less vitriolic because there are gifts involved.

      I have found what you have found, and I think all of us who advocate find this; there are those who have no desire to help our children and actively stand between our children and FAPE. I don’t fight with those. I go around them, to their superiors. The process goes faster that way. Since I am not an attorney and have no legal background except as a Florida-trained parent trainer for IDEA, my only way to use Sec. 504 is the complaint route. It is stronger than the IDEA complaint because there can be damages at the end if districts don’t pay attention; it makes ears perk up a bit more.

      Thanks for responding. Lots of good info there. I look forward to seeing more of your posts here.

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