January 18, 2021

My Story

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My divorce clients sometimes say, “I’m sorry, Ashley, but you don’t understand,” often while pushing back on some optimistic or uber-reasonable advice I’ve given.  My patent response is, “You’re right.  I’m not divorced, so I don’t understand your experience, but I’ve had a lot of experiences that have given me perspective.  I have four broken vertebrae in my back and live in chronic pain, I have a child with a disability that affects nearly all of his life activities, and my husband has had cancer.  I understand hardship, stress, and pain.  Reasonableness, objectivity, optimism – those are choices.”  In today’s podcast, I share some of my story – including the story about the accident that gave me four compression fractures in my back and Jack’s birth story-  and I deliver some of the best lessons I’ve learned as a result.  

I was fifteen when my waverunner exploded, leaving me with four compressed vertebrae and a life of chronic pain. I could have chosen negativity.  I could have chosen to be a victim.  Instead, I chose to be a survivor.  The lessons I have learned in navigating life in chronic pain and with PTSD have really yielded unwavering grit, fortitude, and relentless optimism.  

Which helped immensely when Jack was born.  The doctor told me that Jack had Down syndrome moments after he was born – when I was still on the operating table.  My response: “What do we do next.”  Sure, I’ve taken many moments to grieve throughout Jack’s life, but I always come back to, “What’s next?  What do we do to make Jack the best Jack he can be?  How do we love him more?  How do we support him more?  How do we make the world a better place for him?”  The relentless optimism – the grit – the fortitude- it’s as much for him as it is for me.  

These traits have yielded true team work with Jack’s IEP teams and have yielded so much communication and respect in his community.  

I hope that in sharing my story – or little pieces of it – that you’ll have some take aways that work in your team.  Educate.  Advocate.  Collaborate.  


Join me for the 2021 Special Education & Advocacy Conference on January 23, 2021: https://ashleybarlowco.com/conference

Join me for the 2021 New Year’s SPED Parent Challenge here: https://view.flodesk.com/pages/5fea849129dbe85ae36327db

Never miss out on a new episode by joining my mailing list here: https://view.flodesk.com/pages/5f43ff3f99f8080026e08ed7

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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!!!

Part 04: THE 6W'S OF THE ASHLEY BARLOW CO - THE Where

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

How’s this all going to work? This is the great part. You don’t need to worry about how the content will arrive, especially if you join my mailing list (link in bio), like me on Facebook and Youtube, follow me on Instagram, and subscribe to the podcast. 

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The Special Education & Advocacy Lab is an on-line, on-demand training course for parents of children on special education that are interested in improving their advocacy at the IEP table. Each of the ten modules is a little under an hour, so in about 6.5 hours – less than one work day – or a few weeks’ time we go start to finish in Special Education Advocacy. We cover Parent Rights and the nuts and bolts of the IEP Meeting, the basics of the law, a deep dive into the IEP document and goal writing, progress monitoring and specially designed instruction, due process, document organization, communication strategies and so much more! Each module is jam packed with content and collaborative, reasonable, objective advocacy tips.

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