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Two Website You Must Know
Episode 10620th September 2022 • Special Education Advocacy with Ashley Barlow • Ashley Barlow
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My dad, our beloved Kurtie, often prays, “God, give me patience, and give it to me NOW!” If you’re a parent in special education, you can relate to this, and you may have whispered, “God, give me resources, and give them to me NOW!” The fact is that there are soooo many resources about special education and advocacy on-line… so many, in fact, that it is hard to determine where the best resources exist. In today’s episode I’m giving you two of my favorite, go to resources for special education advocacy. We’ll be talking about and, which both provide a wealth of information. I’ll take you on a tour of the websites and tell you how I find my favorite special education resources quickly and when I need them!


Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Ashley Barlow company podcast. I'm Ashley Barlow, your host. If you are a parent, a teacher or someone who works at a school, or you're a community member, a volunteer or a staff member at an organization that supports people with special education plans, a coach, a tutor, or even a grandparent you're in the right place.

Sit back with an ice cold glass of lemonade, put on your walking shoes and grab some, headphones roll down the windows and crew. Ready? Set. Go. Educate advocate. Collaborate.

Welcome back to another episode of special education advocacy with Ashley Barlow. I'm Ashley Barlow. And I'm so happy you're here last week, I talked to you about the United States department of education's policy document. And the response that I got from you guys was so overwhelming that I actually bumped an episode that I had to do, for you this week, that was on behavior supports.

And I scooched this one in front of it. So today I'm gonna be talking to you about three different websites that I personally use all the time for special education research for research on like the real nitty gritty of practice, and also some research on advocacy strategies, advocacy tools, best practices, et C.

So, you know, I oftentimes tell people in special education that you have to be an expert on negotiation. You have to be an expert on advocacy, skills, communication, and that sort of thing. And then you also have to know a fair amount about special education teaching practices and the research that supports.

Them particularly as it applies to your particular child. So if your child, for example, has, a specific learning disability, then it's super helpful. If you can research the teaching strategies that would support your child so that you have an opinion and can make You know, kind of, developed guesses or hypotheses about different, strategies that would work educated guesses.

Right. The same thing would apply as, you know, to children that have cognitive deficits. Like my Jack. He has down syndrome and he has a cognitive disability. And so it's super helpful for me to know what the research says about educating students with cognitive disabilities in the general education classroom.

As it applies to speech and all of those different things. and so, and you're gonna hear the ding of my iPad and that's because I am using my iPad, in today's podcast. And for whatever reason, maybe you could help me learn how to turn off the volume, but if the phone rings or if I get a text message or whatever, And my iPad is active, then, it dings and I can't help it.

Now you're also gonna hear cocoa Paning because I pet her. And so I'm gonna stop that and hopefully she'll get bored and walk away. Okay. moving right along. So you have to kind of be an expert on. Those things and by expert, I mean, okay. We don't wanna be experts and we don't wanna tell the school people that we are experts unless we truly are, but we need to be intimately familiar with what the research says and what experts in the field are saying so that we can have educated discussions and be equal.

Partners in that I E P team in the IEP decision making, you know, so oftentimes parents say to me, oh, they need to listen to me because I'm mom. And I'm like, well, what value are you bringing? You know? Yes. You're bringing the value of what happens in home and in the community. Absolutely. But if you want for the school team to trust your opinion, and to actually listen to what you have to say about teaching methodologies and placement and the nitty gritty of what happens at school, it's important that you are knowledgeable about those things as well.

And so what I have for you today is I have three different websites that will give you some insight into that nitty gritty stuff that happens at school. And of course, yes, I will also give you some information about how, , to advocate and communicate and to be an active member in the I E P team. And so we are going to start today with Wrights law.

Surely you know, about Wrights We spell it w R I G HT S L a w. Wrights law was developed by Pete Wright who has been on the podcast. I am, thrilled that I can call Pete a friend, Pete puts on the Institute of special education advocacy. This year, it is moving from the college of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, down to a different university in San Antonio, Texas.

I have participated in ISEA as a student and then as an alum and then as a faculty member, it's a fantastic training. I think it's probably like a 30. Training. It maybe runs from like a Wednesday to a Sunday, but before ISEA existed w rights law existed. So Wright's law. Pete has drafted very many books, and other resources.

Pete tried the Shannon Carter case in front of the United States Supreme court. And that kind of launched him into this world of providing resources and special education to families. Part of that is this website. And so the website is, a wonderful, wonderful resource for parents and for other I E P team members.

And so I wanted to highlight a couple of things on the website that I think are particularly helpful. Now if you have not signed up to be, to receive the newsletter from rights law, absolutely do that when you get to the website, because the newsletter. Provides really good case law updates, Pete Wright reads special education cases.

He must read them for hours per day because he'll provide in the, in the newsletter in particular updates to important cases, but also cases that, you know, aren't making special education news elsewhere. They can be super duper helpful. And you get just like a little highlight. You don't have to keep up to date with your particular jurisdiction, your.

So right now in, September of:

What you want is you want every article with the phrase least restrictive environment. So put that entire phrase in quotes, and then you're gonna get everything with that. The way that we search on legal, search tools. So in that search box, you can type in whatever you wanna type in, whatever you're looking for.

Dyslexia. If you type in dyslexia, for example, I'm gonna do it while I'm talking to you. You are gonna get 4,710 results, right. That's too many. And so, you know, you might wanna do dyslexia and, or Gillingham or something like that to try to kind of narrow your search, whatever you're looking for, but you can search that way.

I use the search box on rights law probably twice a week in my own practic. There's also a spot, a topic in the main part of this website, that's called hot topics and the hot topics will rotate in and out as things come in and out, sometimes it's a case law review. Sometimes it's a new article or a new kind of trend.

Sometimes it's new OSAP guidance. Like we talked about last week, but this hot topics can be a really great source of information as well. So I highly recommend that you check. The hot topics. Pete Ray himself does a training program, speaking engagements, and he will post those currently. They are on the left hand side, in the column.

As you know, I have a new job as the director of education at the national down syndrome, Congress and Pete is doing a training with NDSC in Atlanta on October 27th that I will be at. That'll be, I think probably my first, , uh, travel gig conference. That I will be doing for NDSC. I'm super excited about that to get started.

I officially start on October 3rd, by the way. , but also to see Pete and to go to his, , what he calls his one day trainings, because they are super duper helpful. What he does at those is he kind of walks you through the law, , highlighting on the, the topics like the headers in, , the actual federal idea statute.

And it gives you little tidbits along the way, which are super helpful. , and then Pete also has on the, currently on the left hand side. , the website, there is a column that is called topics. And in that you can click on topics that are relevant in special education. So, you know, it starts off with advocacy.

You could just click on advocacy and you're gonna get articles and information about special education advocacy. , there's one called ADHD allergy. And anaphylaxis, skipping down a little bit. There's a whole thing on ESY, future planning, , law school and clinics. So, you know, maybe you wanna go to law school.

There's a whole thing on, on law school and special education clinics. , there's one on mediation. There's one on reading. So you can click on these specific topics and read, you know, whatever you need to read. I always talk about that weekend that I came home. When Jack was in preschool and they said we can't educate him here.

And this is the first thing I did. I went on rights, and. , clicked on the, the link that it's probably either inclusion or least restrictive environment I'm looking right now. , LRE slash inclusion. And I read probably every single article because I went deep, deep, deep into the, , black hole of research in order to figure out what I needed to do to advocate for Jack, to be in an inclusive environment.

And by George it worked. , and so. Wright's law is super duper helpful. The last thing that I'll kind of do, which is probably a plug that Pete would appreciate is he does have all of his books for sale on his website. , and he has a couple of video trainings that are available on his website as well.

So Wright's law is kind of like the bees knees. It is the, the parents Superstore. , and I highly recommend that you go to rates. okay. So that's the first online, , resource. The next one is the ties center. , the ties center is, , an organization that is run through the university of Minnesota's college of education and human development.

Department human development institutes, or departments or centers are oftentimes housed in univers. You've probably heard of you saids or spins. Human development institutes are similar to those organizations. Typically those organizations are studying developmental disabilities or, you know, people with cognitive impairment, people with learning differences at the university level.

So they all have kind of different , Different purposes, whether it is a human development center or it is a, you said, which is a university center for excellence in developmental disabilities, U C E D D here at the university of Cincinnati, which is local to me. We have the UC, you said because it's university of Cincinnati.

Let's see if I can do it. University center. Of excellence in developmental disabilities. that's a lot, but we have UC, you said, which I always think is funny, and then spin, which is a parent network, you know, information for parents, and so, you know, depending on what your state has, your state might have a combination.

I'm really lucky where I live. We have, are you said at the university of Cincinnati , Kentucky's spin is pretty helpful. Our a C L U does a lot for. People with developmental and other learning differences, developmental disabilities, and other learning dis disabilities. , and the university of Kentucky's, human development Institute is one of the more highly regarded ones in the country.

So we're really lucky locally, but we are all really lucky, in the country because, and elsewhere, honestly, because. Organizations like the Thai center, put this stuff out on the internet, which helps significantly. So, I recommend. A lot of the resources that are available on the ties center's website.

It's ties T I E S and ties stands for the T is time in general education. The I is instructional effectiveness. The E is engagement in the S is support. So the Thai center focuses a lot on inclusive education. I really, really, really like the ties centers website. And in fact, I go to, I think I've probably , said this before on the podcast.

I don't watch a whole lot of TV. , I am last year, I watched more TV than I probably ever have. And so as an aside, I just asked Brandon this weekend, when. Like the fall seasons roll out for all these Netflix and, , apple TV shows that he got me watching and he's like, there is no fall season. They just do 'em when they're ready.

And I was. Oh, I've been waiting for like the morning show, which I really like and Ted lasso and, and my show is Emily and Paris, which I watched when I was, , sick with COVID and I probably don't remember any of it. , and he was like, well, they'll come out. You know, it's just like in the fall. And I'm like, well, I'm ready.

I'm ready. So, , because I don't watch, I use, I used to not watch attentive TV. , This is stuff that I'll read at night, you know, like even just lying down on my bed, I'll go to Tyson and see if there's any new resources up there. And typically there is, and I can read, you know, a two or three page article about inclusion or something that, you know, helps me.

At, , at work and helps me with my own, , family situation at home supporting Jack. And so what's available on the ties center website. I've got my little thing here and a cocoa's bothering me again. , okay. So the first thing I wanna highlight is there are professional learning, , courses that are.

nter again, it's September of:

, which, you know, we sometimes call a talker. And so there is a training on how to, , support students that have AACS in the classroom and to the extent that it isn't covered in this, , In this session, a question that I would ask is what if a student doesn't have a talker and has expressive language, , how could an AAC device support an inclusive environment for them?

Because I do that a lot. Jack has a talker at school, and a lot of times he's using it just to talk about how he feels, because if he gets dysregulated and he's feeling kind of crummy about something, then they'll push out the talk. Uh, or they'll put out the talker, , so that he can express himself cuz when he is dysregulated, he kind of loses a lot of that expressive language.

, we also used to talker by the way, I could go on and on about talkers as I did when I had miss miss Lucy from the alternative way to pre-K on the podcast. , but we also used talkers for him for , motor planning. He misses a lot of, , like high frequency words and sentences. So he misses articles and, , oftentimes even prepositions, , and, uh, articles, prepositions and pronoun.

so like we are going to the park. He might just say, go to park . And so he knows that, , the sentence is we are going to the park and if we get out his talker, he's more likely to hit everything. And to get the sentence because it slows him down and it makes him think about, , the way that the sentence is actually formed.

And so we used it for the motor planning that's included in expressive language. , so the first thing on the Thai center website that I wanna highlight is the professional learning opportunities, which are probably geared more towards teachers, but would be super helpful for parents to go to. as well.

And if you are a teacher, , you can get continuing education credits for those. Then there's also really helpful articles. And like I said, this is what I'm listening to or reading. , when I am lying in bed, at night. I know I, I live live a very exciting life here at the Barlow household. , so right now there's one that is on the first page.

That's called creating communities of belonging for students with significant cognitive disabilities, you know, in a lot of DEI initiatives. People are, are using the, , or adding a B to that DEI, D E I B diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. And so this is an article, , that kind of, I think, focuses on the B.

, and what it really is talking about is how to create a sense of belonging for students that have significant cognitive disabilities and are educated, , for a large portion of the day in. Their general education C. , I it's got this like beautiful. I have not read this article yet. I just pulled it up today so that I could make the, , podcast really fresh.

I bookmarked it so that I can go back and read it for you, uh, or read it for myself. But, , it has this really beautiful kind of like. Cog looking visual with all these different things that need to be included for a student to, , feel belonging in their environment. And I did think it was, , worth reading.

So again, I bookmarked that one. Another article is called the comprehensive inclusive education guide. , GenEd in the inclusive I E P article. Oh man. That one sounds good. So it's the comprehensive inclusive education guide. , and then I've got colon GenEd and the inclusive I E P. Now that sounds like one that would be super duper good.

And that one's a little bit longer. So it is gonna be more comprehensive. Like what do we need in an I E P in order to make it really inclusive? That inclusive IEP article. I loved in my inclusion workshop. That's available all the time to download on my website. It's about an hour and a half of video content and a really nice workbook.

, at the end, we really talk about practical strategies to advocate for inclusion. And one of those practical strategies is. , to go through the student's day and to see where we can provide inclusive experiences and then where it might be better for if the child's gonna have some push out services, , or pull out services then to see.

where those pull out services might fit in nicely during that daily schedule. And this particular article goes through a student's day and, , it, it kind of like references where certain goals could be plugged in. So like where we could work on a transition goal or where we could wear on. And transition could be either transition to a new activity or transition to adulthood.

It means two different things in special education, , or where we could work on, , maybe a, , task completion goal or where we can work on obviously a math goal and those kinds of things. It's super interesting. , and I think this goal would be awesome if you're advocating for inclusion. And, , they're saying like, we don't know where we would put it during the school day.

If you read this and you kinda get the gist of how it's done in practice, then you could help the school team kind of troubleshoot their own apprehension. And again, like, this is kind of a good example that so many times in advocacy, what we are doing is we are helping teams consider things that they have never considered before.

So, you know, Oftentimes we wanna say, well, the team's really hesitant to do. And it might just be because they don't have experience. And so if they don't have experience, we can learn about how the experience could go, well, how the child's experience or the educational experience could go well, and then we can, you know, be a thought leader basically, and say, you know, I read this article and I think this article kind of matches up what I'm thinking about doing.

And this is how it seems to work in other schools where inclusion is working well or. You know, fill in the blank, whatever you're asking for is working well. And so maybe we could all read this article before we reconvene. And that can be really, really, really powerful because you don't know you aren't a teacher, you know, you aren't seeing it.

I'm not a teacher anymore. I saw it when I was teaching, but it's been a few years since I was in the classroom. And so I oftentimes will rely on things that I've read in my advocacy. , So those kind of real practical howtos can be super helpful. And those again are available on ties So again, T I E S

Okay. So we've talked about rates law. We've talked about the ties center and now, , oh, hang on. Before I move away from, , the Thai center, I was going to tell you. , oh, hang on. Do I only have two oh no. What if I've goofed and I only have two websites for you? I think I do. That's okay. I remember why I was gonna do three.

I planned this last night and now I remember why I only did two. And that is because I wanted to talk to you a lot about the search box that's available on, , the tie center. So the search box, , You can type in whatever you want to type in on Thai , but in addition to that, you can go down, , and also on the Thai center, there is a, , box where you can click on topics.

It's at the topic of the Thai center's website, , and the topics that are listed there are communicate communicative. Inclusive leadership and systems change, peer engagement, inclusive instruction, and positive behavior supports. And so if, for example, you were to click on, , You know, communicative supports.

You're going to see that there are two different dropdowns. There's one that's called communicative, communicative supports overview. Try to say that three times fast. And then there's also something called a ties 1 0 1 communication supports in the inclusive class. And so you kind of can search by topic just like you can on rights law, but you get these really kind of like targeted.

, supports, if you click on inclusive leadership and systems change, which so many of us want, you can get an overview. There is a webinar series on systems change, which a lot of people really, really want. , there is inclusive leadership series, a video journal on that, and then there's an inclusive lead leadership series, video clip library as well, where you can just kind of go through and look at video clips cuz the Thai center.

Oftentimes put videos up on the website. And so these are kind of highlights from videos that they've posted in the past. The thing that I wanted to point out about this, I now remember, and this is why I didn't want to do, , a third website. is, , that these systems change webinars are something that I recommend oftentimes to my clients because in my particular practice, , and when I'm, you know, working as a special education attorney, people are paying me hourly.

And so I usually say to my clients, listen, I think that you can only advocate for your one child and if systems change throughout the entire state or throughout your entire district, or even at your little bitty school. Wonderful. But if you bear the weight of the world, , and if you pay me to bear the weight of the world, you are going to be poor and stressed out and it's just that simple.

So I recommend that you advocate for your child and you get through this particular stressful situation for your child. And then next. If you want to effect systematic change that you go to the Thai center and you look at their entire tab that is on systematic change. So if you really wanna advocate for systems, You know, a lot of people in dyslexia communities, for example, want to fix the way that their district is educating people with specific learning disabilities.

Then I recommend that you go to this tab and you really kind of dive into this tab and you look at the resources and you get trained on how to affect systematic change, and then you move forward and, you know, there's multiple ways to do that. , I went to something going back to ISEA the rates law training.

, there is a, a person that's often on the faculty. His name is Jim Comstock, Galligan, and Jim, , does a wonderful thing about systematic change by filing state complaints. , so that's just one way that you can affect systematic change, but, , I think this is a great way. To do that and to train yourself so that then you can hit the road and really start to affect change, , systematically, as opposed to just for your one particular child.

So that's what I wanted to highlight on the Thai center's website. Ugh, I'm sorry. I promised you three websites and then I got halfway through my brain is UN overload. And so you're just gonna have to bear with me. Okay. I will see you next week. Same time, same place for another episode of special education advocacy with Ashley Barlow.

I think I did promise you that we would start to have more guests on, as you know now. , it has been a really busy summer with all of us getting COVID and kind of pushing everything back. But now the secret's out of the bag because I've accepted this new position with N. See, , and you know, that I have been working really hard to wrap up a lot of things at my law firm.

, I had. 85 active clients on my roster. When I was approached about taking this job, I, I don't know it was like a five or six week kind of figure out between NDSC and me to, , you know, figure out if this would work for both of us. , and so I've been trying to whittle down from 85 and my goal is to have between five or 10, , five and 12 active clients at a time at the law.

So, as you can imagine, I've been doing a lot. That's why things are a little scattered. Why I haven't been super, , present or consistent on social media, but we're chugging right along. And I officially transitioned to the new job on October 3rd. , and then hopefully will be more consistent, but I do have some interviews, , scheduled and I have some interviews that I've done and they're on the publication.

Schedule here. So things will be back to normal before you know it. , thanks for hanging in here with us and I will see you next week. Same time, same place.