November 2, 2020

Inclusion: Teacher Certificates and Disability Category

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“Your child has to have a teacher with a certificate that allows her to teach children with more significant needs.”  Or, “you child has ___ disability category, so you’re child belongs in ___ room.”  Ever hear that?  If you have, you need to hear this: Disability category and diagnosis do not drive placement.  Disability category and diagnosis do not induce teacher certificate. 

There, I said it.  Now, can I back it up?  

In today’s episode I debunk these two common misperceptions using guidance documents from the United States Department of Education and little primer on a part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.  I know, it sounds boring, but I promise, I break the law down for you in a way that will make you say, “Ah hah!!!”  

Every year I have oodles of parents that call me looking for a more inclusive IEP.  Nearly every one of them says something like, “My child has autism, so he’s in a self-contained room,” or “He qualifies as having a Functional Mental Disability, so his teacher has to be certified to teach child with moderate or severe needs,” or “Every other child that has Down syndrome has gone to ‘the unit.”  Unfortunately, schools continue to spew these falsities, and parents, lacking the training on special education laws, simply agree.   I am here to provide the information, the advocacy tips, and the practical strategies to advocate for less restrictive and more inclusive environments.  

This is a tip of the inclusion iceberg.  If you’d like to know more, hop over to and download my Comprehensive Inclusion Training, which deeper into the topic.  

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Part 03: The 6W's of the Ashley Barlow Co - The Who

Calling all parents, teachers, school staff, self advocates, disability organization staff, doctors, therapists, coaches, tutors, grandparents, babysitters, community organization staff, volunteers, … Calling anyone that supports a student with a disability!!!


Parents of a child in special education are exhausted. Teachers and school staff are about the busiest professionals in the workforce. Nobody has time for in-person trainings, and thanks to COVID-19, few can safely access in-person trainings right now! 

Part 05: The 6W's of the Ashley Barlow Co - The how

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