The Special

Advocacy

Conference

Education

&

January 22, 2022

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Welcome to the Conference!  Give yourself a pat on the back.  You’ve set aside a day in January to empower yourself with information and to dig a little deeper into special education.  You won’t regret this commitment!  We’ve got a jam-packed schedule for you and hope that you find each and every workshop helpful, inspiring, and maybe even a little fun!!!   We tried to spread out topics that may interest the same audience to avoid scheduling conflicts, but if you find yourself wanting to attend two workshops at the same time, consider purchasing the “VIP ticket” to gain access to all of the sessions!

Ashley Barlow Co.’s mission is to empower, inspire, and build confidence in IEP team members by providing a framework that joins the legal principles of special education with the interests and values of everyone at the IEP table.




Welcome

Vendors

How To Attend + Welcome

Dyslexia Assessment: How to get a comprehensive evaluation through the public school system

Michelle Morgan

Meet the Speakers!

9 am

Helping your child prepare for accommodation conversations in college and beyond

Whitney Darnell

Behind the Scenes: Behavior Programming in Schools

Rachel Schwartz

The Ins and Outs of ESY

Carla Wyrsch

Diagnosis to Action: Selecting a Quality Provider

Jaclynn Bosley

Effective Communication Strategies for Parents in Special Education

Ashley Barlow

10am

10th Amendment and Special Education

Crystal Mahany

Meaningful Parent Participation

Stephanie Dawson

Attending College With a Disability: Facts, Myths, Tips and Tricks

Angela Tyskza

 The Art of Advocacy: Where to Start If You're Considering a Job as a Special Education Advocate

Ashley Barlow

11 am

From Referral to Recommendations: Understanding Psycho-educational Reports

April Rehrig

Special Education: A Civil Right, Not a Privilege

Crystal Mahany

Disproportionality/ Intersectionality of Special Education and Race

Clarice Jackson

Taking the Leap: Transition from Pediatric to Adult Healthcare

Lauren Wang

Sign up for the VIP pass, which will give you access to all of the conference’s sessions. If you can’t commit an entire Saturday or find yourself wanting to attend two sessions at the same time, this is a fantastic option for you. 

Common IEP Pitfalls and Their Solutions

Ray Nelson

Event Schedule

The 411 on 504s

April Rehrig

12 noon

What Inclusion Actually Looks Like (and How to Get It)

Courtney Hansen

Knowledge is Power: Transition and Future Planning Tips and Tools

Christy Gregg + Celia Schloemer

Strategies for Effective IEP Team Communication from a Teacher and Parent’s Perspective

Rebecca Scheerer

Click on each session below for a preview of our topics and speakers!  

ashley barlow.

Ashley Barlow graduated Magna Cum Laude from Miami University with a BS in German Education (K-12) received her JD from Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 2006. In a former life, she was a German teacher in Jefferson County Public Schools and Cincinnati Public Schools, having taught nearly every grade from K to 12. She also taught Real Estate and Business Law at Miami University. Her areas of practice now include special education, family law, estate planning, and probate. Ashley practices state wide in Kentucky and Ohio and also operates a business to empower and inspire parents and advocates in special education, which can be found at www.ashleybarlowco.com. When not working, she is normally at the pool with her husband and two sons, one of whom has Down syndrome.  

If there’s one tip I give parents of children in special education, it’s Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! In this session, I’ll provide you with a run down of why it’s so important to communicate, what kinds of things to communicate, how to start conversations, when to dive deeper, and lots of practical communication tips. I’ve seen effective communication tip the scales to reset an IEP team, and I’ve cleaned up the opposite! Let my tales from the trenches and practical strategies help you and your loved one!  

Effective Communication Strategies for Parents in Special Education

“How do I do your job?” This is a question I’m asked at least once a month by a client and several times a week online! If you’re interested in special education advocacy as a career or even a voluntary position, this session will help you get started. We’ll talk about what advocates do, how to explore a business start up or to inquire about a position with another advocate, where to get trained, and so much more! If you’ve considered the ABC Course but can’t quite commit to a career change, this could be your first (free!) commitment to exploring a new course for your family!  

The Art of Advocacy: Where to Start If You're Considering a Job as a Special Education Advocate

Michelle Morgan.

It's hard having a child with dyslexia. Most of the time you feel frustrated that the school doesn't understand your child's needs and you worry they are not getting the type of reading intervention necessary to become proficient at reading and writing. Being a parent to a child with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD, I know firsthand how difficult this journey is for families. I've worked as a speech-language pathologist for 17 years, but being a parent taught me more about dyslexia than I ever learned in school. Since my daughter's diagnosis, I've taken a deep dive into the world of literacy and what struggling readers need to be successful. I provide comprehensive assessments and individual intervention for children who struggle with reading and writing. One of my favorite ways to serve families is through advocacy. Parents need to feel supported during this journey and providing them with information on how to get appropriate services through the public school system is one of the best ways to help a child succeed. I've written a soon to be published book on this exact topic called, It Shouldn't Be So DIfficult: How to Get Your Child with Dyslexia the Services They Need in Public School.

Parents shouldn't have to pay thousands of dollars for a private dyslexia evaluation when access to reading and writing is part of a Free and Appropriate Education. Learn the key words to use during your referral meeting to ensure all areas of deficits are captured in testing. This allows the IEP team to make more appropriate goals and leads to a better discussion of what methodology should be used to target those goals.


Dyslexia Assessment: How to get a comprehensive evaluation through the public school system

Whitney Darnell.

Whittney H. Darnell, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at Northern Kentucky University. She specializes in Health Communication, Interpersonal Communication, and Applied Research. Her research focuses on understanding and improving the conversations people have about their health and wellness in everyday health contexts. Recent studies have included research related to navigating Medicaid waivers, organ donation, negotiating opioid prescriptions, communicating adolescent miscarriage, and Social supporting Kinship caregiving during Covid-19. Her work has appeared in academic journals, such as Health Communication, Qualitative Health Research, and the Journal of International Research in Higher Education. Whittney was recently given the Excellence in Outreach and Engagement Award at Northern Kentucky University (April 2021) and named to the National Communication Association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force (November 2021).

I will discuss several studies that highlight the critical importance of inclusive education to the success of all students. In addition, we will consider the reasons behind statistics that show that many accommodation eligible students never receive them. Finally, I will introduce research-driven strategies for preparing students to have high quality conversations about disability conversations in higher education with their instructors.


Helping your child prepare for accommodation conversations in college and beyond

Rachel Schwartz.

Rachel Schwartz, PhD, BCBA-D has worked internationally creating and supervising programs for individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. Dr. Schwartz received her Master’s degree in Teaching and Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Georgia and her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Her work as a consultant and trainer includes teaching behavior analytic strategies and exploring issues related to sexual education and quality of life. Dr. Schwartz has published original research on these topics in special education journals as well as presented at national, state, and local conferences. With her organization Behavior Goals, Dr. Schwartz shares her over 15 years of experience working in special education to empower students, families, and professionals.

Dr. Schwartz will provide in-depth information on all things behavior programming in schools. Participants will learn more about the process of a functional behavior assessment, what building a behavior plan can and should involve, and the importance of progress monitoring. Presenter will review what to look for, and look out for, in your child's behavior program. 

Behind the Scenes: Behavior Programming in Schools

Carla Wyrsch.

With 19 years of experience in the field of special education, Carla has devoted her career to educating and advocating for children with disABILITIES. After graduating college, she took a nontraditional path in education; she worked at a residential treatment facility for children, at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Lerner School for Autism, and then aboard several military installations before making her way back into the classroom, where she taught children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Currently, she is a content creator for Partners in PROMISE (PiP), a non-profit working to protect the rights of military children in special education. In addition to contributing to PiP, she also contributes and reviews articles and resources for the Organization for Autism Research. Carla holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education (Mercyhurst College), a Master’s degree in Special Education (Mercyhurst College), and a Certificate in Advocacy (Special Education Law PELE Clinic William & Mary Law School).

Carla will provide an overview of what the law says about ESY, how it is not a one size fits service, and strategies to use when advocating for it at the IEP table.

The Ins and Outs of ESY

Jaclynn Bosley.

Jaclynn has 20+ years' experience teaching children on the autism spectrum across all ages and skill levels. Jaclynn is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Certified Ohio Behavior Analyst, and licensed Principal with the state of Ohio. Jaclynn holds a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education (John Carroll University 2003), a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership (John Carroll University 2007) and obtained her post-graduate certification in Applied Behavior Analysis from Penn State University (2010). Spanning two decades in educational and behavioral instruction and consultation, Jaclynn’s career experiences have included positions as a private home behavioral therapist (2000-2003), Coordinating Teacher and Educational Coordinator at the Lerner School at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism (2003-2009), public education experience as a Special Education Supervisor for Riverside Local Schools (2009-2012), and most recently Educational & Behavioral Consultant and Director of Program Development for KidsLink, a non-public, private separate facility serving children with autism (2012-2019). Jaclynn has utilized her expertise in the area of autism and special education to partner with districts and families on educating them of the importance of intensive intervention. In 2020 Jaclynn opened Thrive Early Learning Center to fulfill the mission of serving young children on the autism spectrum by providing early childhood educational services in combination with the intensive supports necessary for educational success. This mission is fulfilled through play-based learning activities, enriched with supports and created by an expert care team comprised of general education teachers, intervention specialists, related service providers and behavior technicians.

After receiving a diagnosis it's time to step back and take a deep breath. Then it's time to get working. Finding a quality provider for your child can feel overwhelming and parents/caregivers can be unsure as to questions they should be asking, and how to narrow the field down to the right provider. This presentation will provide families/caregivers with information on what questions to ask, and how to narrow the field in finding the provider right for your child! 

Diagnosis to Action: Selecting a Quality Provider

Crystal Mahany.

Advocacy became a big part of my life in 2014 when my oldest son was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech and Autism. Two years later, my youngest son was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech, and I was suddenly thrust into the special needs and Special Education world. I entrenched myself in understanding the tenuous progressions of their disabilities, chasing evaluations and therapy referrals, and deep diving what they need to access their education. As a military family, we’re on our 3rd state and 4th school district and preparing to move to yet another duty station next summer where it all begins again. Driven by my passion for the law and the legal process, I went back to school focusing my research on Disability Rights and Special Education Law to earn a second master’s degree. I currently work as a contract/remote Special Education paralegal for law and advocacy firms and as a non-attorney advocate for families in my community. I also contribute time as a Legal Analyst for a non-profit focused on military children in Special Education and actively advocate for Disability Rights in my community by conducting disability training for local police departments. I am a lifelong learner and continuously find new areas of interest and avenues for advocacy in our deeply unique world. 

Why does special education seem so different in each state? In this presentation, we'll review the 10th amendment to the Constitution, discuss how it influences states' implementation of federal law and compare some state to state differences in special education.

10th Amendment and Special Education

In this webinar, we will deep dive into how Special Education Law is rooted in Civil Rights Law and Disability Law. We will walk through the legal progression from the federal government’s responsibility of public education to not only legally provide, but also legally protect, civil and disability rights in education.

Special Education: A Civil Right, Not a Privilege

Ray Nelson.

I approach advocacy and IEP coaching a little differently. Part of that is my background, which is in sales and finance. I come from a work culture designed to solve problems rather than minimize them. That means I focus more on the child and less on the conflict, which increases my success rate with schools and IEP teams.

By keeping focus on the child, many times I am able to sidestep personality clashes and create a solid plan for my clients. Making education better and more accessible is my goal for every client, every meeting, and every IEP team. As a volunteer advocate for many years, I started my business in 2016 to help more children. My 11 years of experience, both paid and volunteer, has given me a wide exposure to different situations and unique solutions. I will share some of that wisdom with you at the conference. 

We will discuss the role of the 10th Amendment and its influence on public education as a national policy and States’ rights to promulgate education law. This is an essential part of the conversation regarding public education and disability rights that is often either not acknowledged or not thoroughly discussed.

Common IEP Pitfalls and Their Solutions

Stephanie Dawson.

Stephanie Dawson is an advocate with the firm, Educational Advocacy and Consulting. Stephanie is a Virginia State-Certified Teacher in Special Education K-12, with degrees in Psychology, Curriculum and Instruction, and Special Education. She has worked in the field of Special Education for more than 20 years as a Special Education teacher, Educational Diagnostician, and Special Education Designee in the public school settings. In her years in the public education setting, Stephanie supervised teams of Special Educators, and developed and implemented ongoing training sessions for both Special Education and General Education staff alike. In addition to working as a Registered Behavior Technician, Stephanie also brings the expertise of having her certification in Trauma-Informed Care to support clients impacted by trauma. Stephanie is a member of the Council of Parents, Attorneys, and Advocates.  

When the school references the "IEP Team", oftentimes one of the MOST important members is not included in that reference. That member is the PARENT! As a parent, you have valuable insight and information regarding your child, and by law, your voice must be heard and considered. We will walk through how to have meaningful participation in your child's special education journey from start to finish. 

Meaningful Parent Participation

Angela Tyskza.

Angela Tyszka has almost 20 years of experience advocating for student with disabilities in both a personal and professional capacity. She received a B.S. in Community Development and an M.S.A. in Leadership from Central Michigan University. After college she spent 14 years working in student services at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, with seven of those as a disability services coordinator. As the parent of two children with IEPs, she has devoted much of her time volunteering for various parent organizations. She is on the executive board of her local Parent Advisory Committee (PAC), and was the committee chair for the last two years. She also helped create and facilitate a parent resource and support group for her local school district.In 2021 she founded MI Student Advocacy Services LLC, a special education advocacy and consulting business focused on educating and representing families in the special education process. She recently joined the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) and the Michigan Parent Advocate and Attorney Coalition (MIPACC).

This presentation will focus on the differences in attending grades K-12 and college with a disability. We'll touch briefly on the laws, modifications versus accommodations, how to request services and who is involved in the process. I'll also be answering some commonly asked questions and dispelling some myths that came from several special education parent groups.

Attending College With a Disability: Facts, Myths, Tips and Tricks

April Rehrig.

April is a cross-trained special education advocate who teaches real-world positive communication strategies for assessment and IEP development. She has over 20 years of experience as a school psychologist, teacher, and parent in the public (delete dash) school setting. April shares her methodology with parents, providers, and disability organizations as a Licensed Educational Psychologist, Master IEP Coach, and Board Certified Education Advocate.

Demystify the 5 Ws of 504 Plan development. Discuss frequent district mishaps and how parent input changes everything. Hear real-world scenarios involving procedural safeguards the intersection of 504 and IDEA. 

The 411 on 504s

Capture the functionality and key components of psych reports. Understand perspectives, content usefulness, and recurrent district mishaps. Master the 4 pillars of "sufficiently comprehensive" and why recommendations drive IEP development.

From Referral to Recommendations: Understanding Psycho-educational Reports

Clarice Jackson.

Clarice Jackson is the founder of Voice Advocacy Center in Omaha NE where she serves as the Executive Director of the Literacy and Dyslexia Screening and Teaching Program and the State President and Founder of Decoding Dyslexia NE. She also serves as a Councilwoman for The Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy County and African American Commissioner for the State of NE. She is a sought after national presenter and keynote on the topics of dyslexia, the intersectionality of literacy and the school to prison pipeline, black literacy matters and special education advocacy. Clarice has received several awards for her work in this area including the Ed Reform Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and The NAACP Freedom Fighter Service Award. Clarice uses her platform to change the narrative surrounding literacy and education reform. 

How Literacy/Dyslexia intersects with youth in the detention center; specifically black and brown students.

Disproportionality/ Intersectionality of SPED and Race

Lauren Wang.

●Regional leader in providing primary care for adults with IDD for the past eight years
● Provides primary care to ~ 400 patients with IDD
● Top 1% nationally for Patient Experience Scores in 2021 and multiple years prior
● Named a "Rising Star Medical Leader" by Venue Magazine
● Named a Cincinnati' "Top Doctor" every year since 2018
● Member of the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group-USA (DSMIG)
● Member of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD)
● National Curriculum Initiative in Developmental Medicine grant recipient
● Developed a sustainable IDD focused curriculum at UCCOM which is one of the first if its
kind nationally
● Awarded a MEDTAPP grant to develop a virtual simulation to train future physicians in
care of adults with IDD
● Faculty Advisor to the IDD Medical Student Interest Group at UCCOM
● Created and directs a medical student and residency elective, "Primary Care for Adults
with IDD"
● Provides an IDD focused longitudinal primary care experience for family medicine
residents to train and empower future physicians to work with adults with IDD
● Presented locally and nationally on various topics pertaining to care of adults with IDD
● Served on the Board of Directors for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater
Cincinnati and remains an active Health Advisory Board member

Dr Wang will discuss transitioning from the pediatric to adult healthcare system. She will also discuss opportunities to become involved in creating an interdisciplinary Center for adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Cincinnati.

Taking the Leap: Transition from Pediatric to Adult Healthcare

Courtney Hansen.

Courtney Hansen has a Master's in Education, and taught secondary education before staying home to advocate for her son with Down syndrome. As a military spouse, that moves often, she has also been able to help other families advocate for their child with a disability in Ohio and Washington state. She is a Council of Parents and Attorneys Special Education Advocacy Training (SEAT 1.0) Instructor, and has worked to pass disability rights legislation at the state level. Courtney is a fierce advocate for full inclusion in the Least Restrictive Environment, and specializes in helping students and their families navigate the IEP process to gain access to the general education classroom with appropriate supports. Check out Courtney's blog at www.incusionevolution.com or "Down Syndrome Inclusion Evolution" on Facebook to learn more about inclusion. 

Meaningful inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom to the maximum extent possible is a legal mandate that is supported by all the evidence-based research on the topic. But what does it look like day to day? And how can you ensure your child is meaningfully included? Explore how you can prepare for a meaningful, inclusive experience during the IEP process. And learn how to use the power of parent input, data, and training to ensure inclusion is being carried out with fidelity.

What Inclusion Actually Looks Like (and How to Get It)

Christy Gregg & Celia Schloemer.

Celia Schloemer, MA, DDBP Family Professional, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Ms. Schloemer is the Family Support Coordinator at the University of Cincinnati-University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, (UC-UCEDD). She comes to this position with more than 12 years’ experience working directly with families of school-aged children with disabilities as an educational advocate. In her present position she supports individuals with disability and their families across the life span by connecting them to resources, assisting them in accessing information and offering trainings that improve outcomes. She is a certified Charting the LifeCourse Ambassador for the state of Ohio. She is on the Lead Team for the statewide Community of Practice Supporting Families and an active member of the National Community of Practice Supporting Families, where the Charting the LifeCourse framework and tools began. Ms. Schloemer also brings to her work the perspective of being a sibling, a sister-in-law, an aunt and mom to individuals with developmental and learning disabilities.

Christy Gregg is a Certified Theraputic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). She is currentlys a Trainee through Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) and represents siblings and adult services. Her experience encompasses close to twenty years of supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. The last nine years has been specifically with individuals with Down syndrome and their families, through the development and implementation of
specialized programs and supports at the Down Sydrome Assocation of Greater Cincinnati (DSAGC). She also brings personal experiences as sibling of an adult brother with Down syndrome.

Attendees will be introduced to a framework of thinking about transition into adulthood across ages and domains. Attendees will learn ways to develop a vision for the future life of their youth/young adult with developmental disabilities and how to identify steps to get there.

Knowledge is Power: Transition and Future Planning Tips and Tools

Rebecca Scheerer.

For more than ten years, Rebecca has worked as an Intervention Specialist within the public school system in a variety of settings, such as inclusion and co-teaching models, and in a specialized classroom for students with Autism and Behavioral Disabilities. She has held leadership positions as Case Coordinator and member of the Instructional Leadership Team. She recently developed a district-wide Intervention guide as supplemental support for the K-6 English Language Arts curriculum for her district. Prior to that, she held positions in Public Relations and Marketing Communication as an Account Executive and project manager. She earned her Master of Education and Teaching License through Xavier University; completed LETRS reading training; and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Anderson University in Indiana. She has held positions in the Family Advisory Council for the Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital and at the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati as a Board Member and Governance Committee, She resides in Cincinnati with her husband Josh, and three children, including a child with Down syndrome. 

Rebecca will provide an overview of effective strategies on IEP Team Communication leading up to and during the IEP development from the perspectives of both the parent and school team.

Strategies for Effective IEP Team Communication