Michael Barrett is a former senior corporate manager, experienced public speaker, entrepreneur, and an Army officer in the Florida Army National Guard. His wife, Lisa, is a Certified Autism Specialist, behavior analyst, professional autism advocate, and a nursing professor. Both Michael and Lisa have made lifelong commitments toward the advocacy and support for their own children and other families living with Autism. When not blogging about autism related issues at www.pathwaysinautism.com, they are collaborating on their first inspirational book for families living with autism, as well as putting together plans for a non-profit organization to assist military families living with autism. Both endeavors will come to fruition in 2013.
In just a few short years our family has been subjected to and has successfully overcome many of the challenges reserved for families who live with Autism such as:
* Determining what kind of programs, treatments and services are available for Autistic children, as well as making the determination out of the myriad of bonafide, emerging and currently unproven treatments as to what was BEST for our kids
* Learning (and continuing to learn) the bureaucratic and difficult maze known as Tricare, and the associated programs of EFMP, ECHO, the Demo and Respite
* Understanding the military’s application and management of the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)
* Having to successfully learn to navigate and be successful at the IEP process and IDEA (and still learning…)
* Prevailing without legal representation in a due process hearing in one state, and prevailing in multiple state complaints in two other states
* Advocating for and coaching other families in conducting successful IEP meetings and successful due processes
* Learning to nurture and protect the marriage bond despite the additional stress Autism brings to the home
* Learning to properly parent, love, encourage and discipline Autistic children
* Learning to appreciate understanding and acceptance for the judgmental world that surrounds our Autistic children
* Winning the 2011 Pike’s Peak Colorado Springs Family Advocate of the Year for Autism advocacy
Our list could be exhaustive at this point on the many challenges we have been faced with and continue to learn from, but in time through the growth of this site, hopefully our experience in different areas will be of assistance to you and your family.
We hope and pray that this website is a source of support, encouragement, information, a challenge and a blessing to you and your family.
Love and God bless,
Mike & Lisa
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