Michael Boll, father to a son with autism and CSNLG team member, introduces our special series on the process of working with an attorney or advocate to help your son or daughter. This is a mutli-part series.

We start with how the process works here at CSNLG and what steps happen to go from someone seeking help and information to hiring a law firm.

If you have a child with special needs such as autism, you may quickly start hearing about Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Verbal Behavior (VB) as therapies that are helpful to children.

Today I talk with Dr. Denise Eckman president and executive director of Creative Behavior Interventions. We discuss an overview of what ABA is and which types of children, and even adults, benefit from this type of intervention. We go a little deep and by the end of this show, you will have a functional understanding of behaviors, their antecedents and a breakdown of different types of communication we find in language. In fact, if you listen carefully, you may be able to discuss Mands, Tacts, Intraverbal and Echoic communication!

‘Readin, ‘writin and ‘rithmetic, or the three r’s as they used to call it, it still a fundamental concern for parents and educators who see a student struggling in those areas. Additional help and instruction in those areas is often a successful way to catch a student up or move them further ahead.

Today I speak with Tia Jones, Executive Center Director of the Lindamood-Bell program in Newport Beach, California. We discuss her program, the specifics of how it works along with the time commitment and costs associated with enrollment.

Having a successful IEP meeting, plan, implementation, etc. can involve a wide range of people and logistical efforts. Trust, based on constructive communication, is often the key factor in keeping all these moving parts working together.

Today I talk with Bree Tippets, a Pre-K, Special Education Coordinator for Orange Unified School district.

Bree helps us understand an IEP from the district’s point of view and what efforts we can make as parents to build a team focused on our child. Interestingly, Bree is the parent to a child with special needs and knows first-hand a parent’s point of view.

Idealism and the desire to help people is often an overarching view of many young people fresh out of school and ready to contribute to the world. For Adrienne Oliveira, my guest today, she saw a career as a special education teacher as her chance to contribute.

Adrienne reflects on her time working in three different schools in three different states and the dramatic differences she found in each district. All these experiences gave her a unique perspective after her son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Suddenly Adrienne was now a parent at an IEP instead of a teacher.

Children with special needs, especially with autism, can find navigating the social world difficult and challenging. There are so many rules for social interaction and they constantly evolve depending on who is in the room, as we age, etc.

Today I talk with Brock Tropea a speech language pathologist by day and a social skills group ninja in the afternoons. We cover how social skills groups work, how to understand and see progress and the specific types of social skills targeted for an upgrade.

Hiring an advocate or attorney may, at some point, be something you need to consider. An advocate can be part of your support team at a lower cost while an attorney helps if you need to review the law or maybe are not satisfied with the services your district is offering.

This session discusses when and where an advocate or attorney can be helpful.

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the key document, roadmap, etc. for a child securing special education services.

Rich and I talk about the IEP and what important aspects you should know and understand as a parent or caregiver.

Community Advisory Committees (CAC). Have you heard of them? Ashley Lopez has and she has some interesting information to share! Every school in California is required to have this organization to facilitate communication between parents of children with special needs. Checkout Ashley’s committee here.

Ashley, who has a strong sense of advocacy and a seemingly endless supply of energy, realized that her CAC needed an “upgrade.” After some pushing and agitating Ashely came to understand that the community in this school district was not being well served. While she was able to secure services for her son, others did not have the same resources to do the same.

Our sensory system has a profound impact on our everyday experiences and how we react to our world. Maybe a noise is annoying, a light too bright or an article of clothing feels just not right. For children with special needs such as autism, ADD and more, sensory struggles may be magnified to the point where they have a significant impact on their perception of the world. What may seem just fine to us, may be threatening to them.

Understanding the sensory system and its roll in a child’s life is what I talk to Dr. Susanne Smith Roley about today. We cover a lot of exciting material including sensory seekers, sensory avoiders, body awareness and much, much more. By the end of this podcast you may find yourself having a good understanding of terms such a proprioceptive, vestibular, temporal and spatial awareness. Wow!