Family Advocate of the Year Award Winner – The ARC of the Pike’s Peak Region, CO

I had been waiting for them to update their website, but I just couldn’t wait any longer before it moves from NEWS to OLDS, lol.

My very special wife, and fellow advocate Lisa, is this year’s ARC of the Pike’s Peak Region winner of the Family Advocate of the Year Award 2011.

Out of 200 nominations for this very special award, my wife walked away with the award!

As lead advocate and confidant for many families living with autism on how to get the most out of IDEA and exerting a child’s educational rights, she is most definitely deserving of this award. She works hard to ensure that our own boys get the best care educational options available under IDEA, but also works to assist other families in doing the same.

I’m so proud of her efforts and know that more is in store in the future to reach as many as those exceptional families who are walking on the pathways in autism!

A Proud Husband,

Mike

Let’s begin!

Well, my intention was to have a good handful of postings by now, but when you live with autistic kids you have to make sure to remain flexible – in life, with goals, ambitions, and timing! One thing I always remind myself of as I set a new, firm goal and am committed to it is: “The goal is in stone, but the plan is written in sand.” So, this blog will advance, even if delayed!
The reason for my delay you ask? Well, we’ve been busy for the past few days developing our rebuttal to the response from our Colorado state complaint against our local school district from their attorney. You see, one of the many hats you will HAVE to wear to be a successful advocate for your child (even if you have enough financial wherewithal to hire legal representation to do the work for you) is a thorough understanding of the IEP process, IDEA, FAPE, No Child Left Behind, and your child’s legal rights. Over the years and in multiple states and school districts, my wife and I (more Lisa than I actually) have gained years of valuable experience in the development of IEPs. We also have experience with Due Process having had to take one of the school districts we lived in to court (in which we prevailed, but that is another story for another post). It just so happens that our school district is, in our opinion, in many violations of IDEA and FAPE and so we filed a lengthy and thorough state complaint – the last step in the state of Colorado before heading to due process. The Colorado Department of Education accepted our complaint and virtually all of our points of contention and required the district to respond promptly to our allegations. The district’s expensive legal firm responded and now we have 10 days to file our rebuttal to their response. So goes the legal process when advocating for your child’s right to a Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE)!
I’ll certainly discuss more of this in detail in due time, but for now please pray for us and/or wish us a continued good fight. As soon as I read through our final draft and we submit it, I’ll be able to launch into the first round of thoughts I have to share!

In advocacy,

Mike