Sunday, January 18, 2009

About this blog (and me)

I have so many passions within special education and hope to have them reflected within this blog. Starting out my career as a gen ed teacher (lifetimes ago), my initial exposure to education was in a completely different era and place. I had eschewed special education as a certification area because I was so convinced that I didn't have the "heart" for special education, because my exposure to the field was so limited and so, so wrong on many levels.

Children with special needs were not part of our every day life at school; they were stashed away in the basements of schools, a la the "boiler room" locations. I saw special education as a futile practice, working with students who did not possess the ability to do much. I had nothing but pity for kids with special needs and their families.

Boy, does life have a way of coming back at you, with a bite!

Special education is my passion. I know a lot about a few, narrow aspects in special education, one of them being the law. I don't have depths of knowledge about reading disabilities or children with emotional disturbance, but I thoroughly understand the laws and regulations which govern their services. I do contractual work for VESID and am privy to field memoranda and training sessions through State Ed. So, I have a good understanding of how to navigate through these crazy systems, both at the federal and state levels.

My other narrow focus of interest is autism. I have an expertise and depth of knowledge within the field, both as a professional and parent. My son is now 12 so we've lived in this world of ASD for a while. I've been a special education teacher for children with autism for ten years and have experienced some of the greatest rewards and celebrations in life.

I use a tried and true method of instruction called applied behavioral analysis, while infusing a bit of sensory integration, as needed. People think that I have an 'eerie' capability to read the minds of kids with autism. While this is flattering in a weird sort of way, it's not really true. I observe my students' behavior, so closely, and make note of everything they do. It helps me to predict what they will do in the future, to understand their triggers, to know what they love and what makes them unhappy, to read the subtle changes of expression demonstrated on their faces, and to read their body language to understand what they are communicating. It has it's advantages and disadvantages, as I find myself closely observing EVERYONE (the cashier at Wegmans, the strange guy on the elevator, etc.) whether I want to or not. It's hard to turn off.

Anyway, this blog will contain information, links, articles, etc. that I find interesting and helpful, primarily centered around autism, behavior, special education law, and the advocacy for people with special needs. I hope that it's helpful.


  1. I love the image you put on this post and love to hear about your enthusiasm for your work. You sound like a wonderful teacher and I hope to learn some things from you as part of our social/professional networking. I love the choice of colors on your blog (mine are the same and I think it's really sharp looking!)Nice to meet you!

  2. Hi Kathy,

    I like your blog! I see you and Christina chose a nice variety of pinks!!! I am so impressed by your work, it sounds very interesting and rewarding. When I finish my Nurse Practitioner degree and even while in school I am sure I will see autism and it will be very helpful to read along to see what techniques you use! Good luck with blogging!

  3. To answer your question on my blog it is a picture from Venice Beach in California when I visited. California is amazing and here we are in freeeezing weather!!!!