About Michele J. Williams, M.S.

Welcome to my world!
Here no one is second class, failure is an acceptable way to learn, and repetition of lessons (including life’s lessons) just means you’re not done yet. Disability issues are very personal to me. My father was disabled. I lived with discrimination because my mother had to work when mothers didn’t work because there was no Equal Opportunity then, and employers paid my father “women’s wages” even though his disability had no impact upon his ability to do the job. When I discovered both my children have disabilities, of course I became their advocate.

I took Florida’s training for teaching education advocacy to parents and spent the next 20 years teaching parents and teachers, advocating for my children and other families of children dealing with disabilities.  I’ve worked with people and agencies from local to national levels to help achieve appropriate education for students with disabilities.  I worked for a while in the Disability Resource Center at Florida International University and saw firsthand what happens when we don’t teach out children how to be independent students without the support of the IEP/504 Plan.  Eighty per cent of OUR kids never make it through college because we parents don’t have access to the information we need to teach them what they need for college success.  I also saw students with extremely severe disabilities achieving academic success and what they did to get there.
While doing my internship for my Master degree, I wrote a book which is now being published in four volumes.  College Readiness and Disability:  Parent Guide to Creating College Success For Students With Disabilities, Grades 8-12 is designed to help parents:
1. learn what you must know to be a strong case manager for your child;
2. to understand the disability and how it affects your child’s learning and way of living–and for the family, too;
3. know your own and your child’s learning style and how to understand information as it moves back and forth between differing learning/teaching styles;
4.  know the non-academic things that must be done to achieve academic success;
5. know what advocacy is and where are the resources for learning how to do it;
6.  realize how children with disabilities learn who they are and who they want to be and to help them along that path;
7.  understand how goal-setting and achievement of goals works so they can teach it to their child;
8.  have specific strategies for dealing with difficulties in reading, writing, and math;
9.  get started early (0n time)at setting up accommodations for college entrance tests;
10.know how to find other parents with disability experience who are willing to help;
11. know the resources for living and learning with disabilities.
Volume I:  Preparing the Parents
Prepares parents for your work at case management, monitoring and guiding your child’s progress through high school. There are examples of when advocacy is necessary and how it works, sample letters, samples of conversations with school staff to help parents learn how we can speak effectively for our children’s rights and needs, some typical situations and how to deal with them. Tips on how to get a complete copy of your child’s cumulative file, how to understand what we find in school records will help parents know what is really going on at school,  and how to become fully informed so we can give informed consent.
Volume II: Understanding Disabilities and Disability Management for Success

Teaches how students with disabilities are the same and different from their peers, how they think of themselves and why it takes more than academics to be a successful student, how to help a teen come to terms with disability and the need for assistance, how to do “disability analysis” to define problems and develop compensatory strategies and link them to the IEP/504 Plan, and how to be proactive in management of disability issues for overall success.
Volume III: Learning Essentials That Schools Don’t Teach

This volume is filled with the non-academic stuff our children need for full development but isn’t taught at school.  There are tips, strategies, plans, and explanations of things we take for granted that are often “messed up” by the presence of disabilities.  This is the book that takes what we take for granted and seldom think about consciously and lays out how to instill these skills for success in the college-bound child.

Vol IV: Learning How To Learn

The nuts and bolts of learning are here–discovering learning styles of the child, the parents and the teachers so the parents can teach the child how to move back and forth among learning and teaching styles without losing information; multi-sensory strategies for learning reading, writing, and mathematics, and how to hep a child find comfort zones in learning.

College Readiness and Disabilities is written to be parent-friendly.  It is being published as a four-volume e-book in all formats so the maximum number of parents who need it can have it.  It will automatically come to you as an audiobook when you order the e-book, so I know you’re getting your money’s worth.
I also coach families whose children with disabilities have college potential to help them know how to manage college prep for their child’s college success.  For more information, contact me at staff@ucandoitinc.com.

I have a special education blog at http://www.michelejwilliams.wordpress.com to give additional help for parenting children with disabilities.
When I am not researching, advocating, writing, or blogging, I tend my gardens, read, watch as many music and dance shows on TV as my schedule allows, tend my cats, make jewelry, study Spanish, and wonder how you and your future college student are doing now.



2 Responses

  1. Thank you for joining the Cooperative Learning LinkedIn group. Your expertise in Special Education will add depth to our discussions.

  2. Wow! What a Profile! and What an “Amazing Woman” you are, Michele!! Your Strength and Tenacity Never cease to Amaze Me!!! Much Luck to You in your Admirable Endeavors!!!

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