Target May Be My Newest Hero For Supporting Autism

Lisa emailed me this blog post from Huffington that I just had to share.

All of us parents have thoughts about what the future will hold in employment opportunities for our kids on the autism spectrum. Will they ever be able to hold a job? Who will hire them? What could my son even do for work? These are all questions that concern us as our children ever so quickly head to adulthood.

Kudos to Target for their hiring practices (at least, in this particular stores case in Pennsylvania). Please take a minute to read this story >!

In Advocacy,


Here’s By Far the Best Illustration of Autism For Kids I Have Ever Seen!

Lisa shared this blog post with me yesterday and I just got done reading it and the associated series with it. This is by far the best metaphor and illustration for walking kids through the behaviors and traits associated with autism that I have seen! It is said that a philosopher is someone who takes something very simple and makes it very complex, and a genius is one who takes the very complex and makes it very simple. This author has done just that. I have a new hero in autism and look forward to reading even more of her posts! Very clever and extremely witty. Please read this and share with everyone you can who needs to learn about autism – it is relevant to all ages!

Please click here for the link to “A Hair-Dryer Kid in a Toaster-Brained World”

Rules of Combat (Advocacy, that is)

Here is a neat little post that I stumbled across going through some old RSS feeds from Wrightslaw. I appreciate the comparison to combat in this post. Pat Howey is a Wrightslaw seminar provider and according to her blog page has been an advocate for several decades. Enjoy!

Rules of Combat

Pat Howey - Professional Advocate

I recently came upon a t-shirt printed with these rules of combat. Parents of children enrolled in special education programs may find these rules useful in their journey from emotions to advocacy.

1. If the enemy is within range so are you.

Everything you do can have a lasting effect. Do not allow your actions to backfire on your child.

2. The cavalry doesn’t always come to the rescue.

In a pinch you may not be able to find or afford a good parent attorney. Use persuasion instead of due process threats.

3. Bring the biggest gun you can handle, lots of ammo, andplenty of reinforcements.

Come to IEP meetings prepared. Give other members of the Team all relevant information before the meeting. Bring extra copies with you. Do your homework. Learn everything you can about research-based instruction. Take a friend to the meeting. Bring refreshments.

4. Incoming fire always has the right of way.

The school is responsible for chairing the IEP Team Meeting. Thus, school staff has the right of way. Your greatest weapon is paper and pen. Document everything, even if it seems unimportant. Who fires the first shot is less important than who has the most strategic position after the shots are all fired.

5. Never forget that your weapon is made by the lowest bidder.

Be careful about using the law is your weapon. IDEA is a critical tool but your information may be outdated. Quoting the law only polarizes the positions of both sides making the possibility for peace more difficult.

6. Never draw fire; it irritates everyone around you.

It is difficult to fire at someone who is kind and considerate. Concentrate on influencing people. Be polite. Treat others as you would like to be treated. When others are rude be a better person than them and walk a straighter path.

7. If at first you don’t succeed, bomb disposal is not for you.

Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Not everyone can defuse difficult situations. If you have not yet learned this skill work with an experienced parent advocate who specializes in dispute resolution.

8. Any ship can be a minesweeper . . . once.

It is easy to burn bridges. A good negotiator causes change without burning bridges. Take care of your child’s school relationships. Remember, s/he may be in that environment for a long time.

9. If you see a bomb technician running, make sure to keep up with him.

Is the head special education bomb technician — special education director or school attorney – to be at your IEP Team meeting? Pay close attention. Either you should be worried or you have other members of the IEP Team worried. Either way, you need to be prepared.

10. If at first you don’t succeed, call in an airstrike.

When all else fails, contact a good parent attorney for advice. Do not threaten due process.

Posted by Pat Howey

Ways To Stop Your Little Houdini From Escaping The House!

You Could Get These For Your Wanderer!

This was a very timely post given my post a few days ago “Wonder as I Wander” where I briefly discuss my escaping little ‘Houdini’. We as parents of autistic children have the sole responsibility for creating a standard operating policy for our home as it relates to the protection and follow on actions we need to do in the event of an en escape or disappearance. This author has some great ideas to consider and there are some informative links as well after the post.

If your little one is prone to wandering off you MUST be prepared with a plan on what you will do when it happens.

Check out this author’s advice here.