Welcome to Ashley Barlow Co. podcast! This business has been in my heart for so many years, and I so excited to share it with you. In these podcasts we’ll discuss all things special education – from eligibility to implementation of the IEP. We’ll talk about basic concepts and dive deeper into specific topics. We’ll talk about self-care for caregivers and professionals that support children on IEPs. We’ll discuss best practices, behavior, therapies, and more!
A Deep Dive into Behavioral Support with Dr. David Kuhn
I learned a lot about myself when Jack was a baby. One of the most obvious things I learned is that I’m a “why” person. I want to know the reason for stuff. I want to know the “why.” We worked on coming to midline, deliberately reaching away from midline, and crossing midline. Sure, I would have done it, because the therapists said to, but I really needed to know why. Why are we working on this skill? What does this do to help Jack? What’s going on in his brain or body that makes this so hard for him? Why?
This is why I immediately “clicked” with Dr. David Kuhn when introduced to him. In our first conversation, David and I talked about Functional Behavior Assessments and ABC (antecedent-behavior-consequence) data. He wasn’t two sentences into the discussion when he geeked out about the need to tweak consequences in order to zero in on the function of any particular behavior. David was speaking my language. If we don’t test our hypothesis by manipulating that consequence, how would we know if we have hit the “why?”
In today’s episode Dr. Kuhn and I talk about this topic. He explains the need to manipulate the consequences of behavior to test a hypothesis before writing a plan to support the behavior. He takes behavior down to the science of testing the hypothesis, which makes it so simple.
I invited David onto the podcast to talk about this particular issue, but as is usually the case, we came up with a much more broad conversation about FBAs, BIPs, and generally supporting children with behavioral needs at school and in their communities. Of course, this must start with a very thorough analysis of the behaviors.
David Kuhn is one of the good ones. His incredible credentials and experience are fueled by a lifelong appreciation of and passion for helping people with disabilities. No wonder he’s so smart!
Episode you will also enjoy: https://ashleybarlowco.com/functional-behavior-assessments-and-behavior-intervention-plans-with-dr-solandy-forte/
Adding and All About Me Book to Your Advocacy at the IEP Table
You’ve probably heard me talk about All About Me Books, and you may be wondering what goes in this kind of document. In today’s podcast episode, I walk you through All About Me Books (let’s just call them AAMBs) – why to draft them, what kind of information to include, how to format them, and how to use them in your advocacy.
I like to start an AAMB with a good description of the child and the way the child’s diagnoses affect the child. Then, I recommend that parents organize the additional pages by category. Maybe that looks like a page each for OT, PT, Speech, academics, etc. Maybe it looks like a page each for Reading, Reading Fluency, Math Computation, and Math Fluency. However it looks will be unique to the child, but communicating it in an organized, objective manner will be such an asset to the rest of the IEP team. I always end an AAMB with an expression of gratitude, an offer to help in any way, and a willingness to address any questions or concerns. This kind of communication goes such a long way in setting a collaborative tone on an IEP team.
I’ve also got a Freebie on my website that describes All About Me Books. Hop over the link to download yours!!! https://ashleybarlowco.com/all-about-me-books
Three Common Mistakes Made in IEP Meetings
You’re getting the inside scoop on today’s podcast! Tales from the trenches. I sat down and thought about three common mistakes that people make in IEP meetings and am serving them up – with recommendations for doing better – for you today!
The mistakes: Agreeing to decisions without the knowledge to back it up, not knowing the people on the team, and not reading “the stuff.” I’m going to walk you through each mistake with examples and then provide you with strategies for doing better. Then, we’ll tap into last week’s podcast with one additional collaboration tip – to avoid being adversarial, accusative, or combative during a meeting.
The Fear of Conflict
In today's episode we talk about the thing everybody fears: conflict. We don't only talk about it, but I actually encourage conflict. Keep reading. It gets better. You see, I always say that conflict yields effective change. I believe in constructive discord , allowing everyone to be heard, accountability for all team members, and interest-based negotiation. Sound better than conflict? Yes! Conflict does not have to include adversaries going toe to toe, fists banging on tables, and red faces. I want to walk you through one of my favorite books, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni, applying each of his five points to the IEP team. I bet you leave a little more empowered and ready to dive in with deeper, more meaningful conversations with the other people on your IEP team!
A Success Story with Chrissy Bailey, Lab student
Meet Chrissy Baily, mom extraordinaire and graceful advocate for her adorable children, Juni and Johnnie. Chrissy had talked with representatives at her local Down syndrome organization and her state’s disability rights staff but was still putting out fires advocating for her two children. Then, her Down syndrome organization gave her a scholarship to my Special Education & Advocacy Lab.
In just a little over 8 hours of content and the passion that lives in her soul, Chrissy empowered herself to become a more effective and efficient advocate for her children. In fact, she was so inspired by the Lab that Chrissy is now working as a surrogate for other children in her kids’ school district that need advocates at the IEP table!
During our chat, Chrissy said, “I was Googling, and I didn’t know the parts of the IEP, and then when COVID hit, it was like a whole new set of problems… that sparked me… ‘I need to know this stuff.’ I had attended [a few seminars] and I didn’t think I was going to need them. I read on your website about the Lab, and I thought… ‘This will solve all my problems!’” Listen along as you learn how Chrissy made the choice to attend the Lab and the impact it’s already having on her family and her community!s of it – that you’ll have some take aways that work in your team. Educate. Advocate. Collaborate.
Join me for The Special Education & Advocacy Lab: https://specialedadvocacylab.ashleybarlowco.com/
Meet My Guest:
Chrissy Bailey lives in Worthington, OH with her partner Matt, 6 year old daughter Juniper, 3 year old son Johnnie, and their 3 legged black cat Magic. She is a former children's librarian and currently stays home full time with the kids. She loves reading, jogging, listening to podcasts, cooking, and meditating.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
What a great podcast. Gave me so much insight and validation in this advocacy process!
Only Ashley Barlow could make listening to a podcast about special education law and IEPs fun! This podcast is a treasure trove of information to empower parents and others to advocate for students with disabilities and to do it correctly!
This podcast is an absolute lifesaver. Ashley breaks down what you need to know I’m a clear easy to follow and use way. If you want to know more about not only how to effectively advocate for your child in an iep but also how to BUILD a great relationship with tour team, you are in the right place. This podcast has changed our perspective and given us skills to enhance our child’s learning environment. A plus!