Where Do We Go from Here?

MAKING INFORMED DECISIONS ABOUT SPECIAL EDUCATION DISPUTE RESOLUTION BY WILLIAM BLACKWELL, ED.D. Planning special education services is a collaborative process involving parents, children, and school personnel. While the majority of individualized education programs (IEPs) are developed collaboratively, there are situations in which disagreements arise that are not easily resolved. Parents are sometimes left asking themselves, “Where do we go from here?” following an unsuccessful attempt at resolving differences with school personnel. Our federal special education […]

Transitioning From Pre-school To Elementary School, And Beyond:

STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES BY DIANE WISCARSON, WISCARSON LAW As a parent of a child with special needs, you may be particularly anxious about sending your child to elementary school. After all, you want to make sure that your incoming kindergartner gets the full benefit of a public school education, and has a positive experience in the process. Prior to your differently-abled child reaching kindergarten age, they will have likely been getting services through […]

Helping Parents Help Their Kids Thrive In School

BY KATHERINE FIRESTONE School was hard for me. I felt like an imposter. I was in honors classes but I felt like I had to work so much harder than everyone else to get the same grades. I had to read to myself out loud so that I would understand what I was reading and not skip ahead. It took forever. Then I had to go back and highlight everything I had just read to […]

How Charter Schools & Vouchers Affect Special Education

Families should carefully weigh the pros and cons of charter schools and vouchers, and speak with their Parent Training and Information Center about their state laws, regulations, and policies regarding special education and charters or vouchers, before making a decision. BY MARIA DOCHERTY AND LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. With the increased focus in the United States on charter schools and the use of vouchers to support student  attendance at private schools, more and more parents of […]

Why do children with autism often have language delays?

Pictured above: Waisman researchers Susan Ellis Weismer (left) and Jenny Saffran (right) studied language acquisition in children with and without autism. Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, often have significant delays with expanding their vocabularies and other language skills compared to typically developing children. Yet, “we know very little about [language] processing in [children with ASD] or the mechanisms underlying it,” says Susan Ellis Weismer, a professor of communication sciences and disorders at […]

The Ink Debacle

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN Our family is such a “mess” and it’s impossible to hide it. Maybe that’s a good thing because we are not the only ones out there who are trying hard every day. We were ready to go. It is rare for our family, but we were actually going to be on time. The battalion Halloween party was going to start in a few hours and we needed to be […]

12 New Year’s Resolutions For Special Needs Parents

BY DEANNA PICON “Wow! Another year, gone already. Where did the time go?” you ask yourself while picking up decorations at your local department store. And, as you reminisce about the challenges of 2016, you think how nice it will be to wipe the slate clean and start a new year filled with bright possibilities. With planning, realistic expectations and a positive attitude, 2017 can be a great year. That may seem impossible to imagine […]


BY KIMBERLEE RUTAN MCCAFFERTY Dear Much Younger Me, I see you, with your white-knuckled grip on your eldest son’s stroller. I watch you struggle to maintain his diaper bag on your arm and not lose your grip on the incomplete, badly-stapled articles with the word “autism” in the title that your utterly unempathetic pediatrician just thrust into your hand as he wished you an ascerbic “good luck.” I witness the white hot fear that’s been […]

Increasing Adaptations For Individuals Who Struggle Emotionally And Socially

BY DR. JACKIE MARQUETTE My son Trent and I were on an outing shopping for his clothes. The store was loud and chaotic. Trent has autism and shopping wasn’t his favorite thing to do. He began to flap his hands and snap his fingers with an extremely tight facial expression. We knew what would happen next. He yelled out and. immediately following, he truly and earnestly expressed, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” While I understood he […]

An AC/DC Connection

I was sitting at an AC/DC concert being prepared to get my pants rocked off, but instead I was listening to a man pour his heart and soul out to me about his son with autism. It was the first time I’ve seen Hayden speechless. Mark and I sat him on the couch and told him that for his birthday, we were taking him to an AC/DC concert in Atlanta. After Hayden stared at his […]