About MeMy story in special education & credentials that I have earned
Why I do this work.
I am not your typical special education advocate. I don’t have a law background and I have never been a teacher or administrator in a school. What I am is a Special Ed Mom, just like you, and I have been through the system. I have worked in the schools, but as a counselor and therapist.
I have been through bad in our old school district, and I have seen it done right in our hometown and the districts I’ve worked in. I know exactly what it’s like to know that my child needs help, and to hear administrators and “experts” tell me I am wrong. I have been on the receiving end of dire predictions about my child’s future, and I have seen my child recover and flourish.
What makes me different is that I know exactly what you are going through — from the fear about your child’s future, to the daily annoyance of having to police the school. I know what it feels like to watch other parents have ‘typical’ kids and complain when they have no idea what hard really is.
I’m different because I have made it through this crazy system, and I am better for the experience. I can help you find your life preserver and make it through this too. With the right tools and knowledge, you CAN make it through without losing yourself in the process.
“I have been on the receiving end of dire predictions about my child’s future, and I have seen my child recover and flourish.”
What are my qualifications?
When my older son was 6, a UCLA-trained neuropsychologist told us he would never be cognitively normal and we should save for group home care for when he became an adult. He is now in 8th grade, an honor student, gifted in math and is expected to go to college and grow up to have a ‘typical’ life.
My most valuable credential is that I have been a special education mom for over 11 years and I have found ways to help my children thrive despite their challenges. I have two children who have IEPs. I have also worked as a school counseling intern and an educational therapist in schools, providing services to students with IEPs.
I’ve lost count of the number of SSTs, 504s and IEPs I have attended. In our old district, from 2005-2010, we had to fight really hard to get help for my older son. We ending up hiring a lawyer, which in many ways was more stressful than working with the school. In our new district, they have been amazing at offering services to help both our children overcome learning challenges so they could thrive in the school setting.
In this process I have learned that the school’s help is not enough. I am a research maven, and as a result a huge bulk of my experience comes from reading dozens of books, blogs and research studies. I have gained a mass of knowledge about special education, advocacy, how the schools work and alternative therapies that parents can use to improve their child’s progress. We have done more than a dozen therapies outside of the school, always with huge positive results for my children.
What about ‘official’ credentials?
Education and degrees:
- Educational Counseling masters University of La Verne, with a concentration in school and family-based counseling
- Spiritual Psychology masters from University of Santa Monica
- Bachelor of Architecture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which has served me well in my 25-year career as a graphic designer.
Credentials & Certifications:
- PPS Credentialed School Counselor
- Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Intern (LPCCi)
- Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy Training
- Structure of Intellect (SOI) assessor
- Irlen Syndrome screener
- Retained Primary Reflex screener
- Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children® (MMTIC®) assessor (it’s like the Myer Briggs)