Why this site?
ASDworld is the face of my special education advocacy practice for parents of children on the autistic spectrum. You’ll see not only continuing updates and information that reflect my approach but also consolidated, organized, curated information. I believe sincerely that with everything else that is going on emotionally, financially, and physically for parents, the 80-20 rule becomes our new best friend. In many cases, we’ll discuss creating easily implemented systems that are effective 80% solutions for ALL parents and can be adjusted as needed. (Too often, we read skimpy outlines of ideas and then “well, this part you can decide on your own,” when we’re looking for more of a map than a hint.)
I am the father of a preschool-aged boy diagnosed with PDD-NOS. We live in northern New Jersey, where there is a plethora of autistic children and a broad appreciation of quality resources for early intensive behavioral intervention, EIBI (aka applied behavioral analysis, ABA). It is without a doubt my experience with our son that has led me to build this site and create not only an advocacy practice for my clients but also a site that can serve parents throughout the country.
My background is more than varied: I have been an Army officer, a lawyer, and an investment banker. Now, because of the impact of autism on our lives, I will be taking the NJ bar in July 2009. I am admitted to practice law in NY and CA, and that status, while helpful to parents in those states, makes it more complicated here in NJ, which is why I’m adding to my licenses.
In general, my approach is grounded in the needs of the child, as informed by scientific research. There is much we don’t know about autism, but there is also much that is known about education and the challenges, techniques, and processes that our children encounter as they enter the educational system.
Get help with school issues and IEP negotiations.
As a parent of a boy on the autistic spectrum, I turned to a special education lawyer, herself a parent of children on the spectrum, to help us with a school district. Seeing the differences that good advice and coaching can provide led me to become a special education attorney and advocate. I quickly learned from therapists, behaviorists, and parents that there is a tremendous need for trained and skilled attorneys and advocates to help parents with disabled children in NY, NJ, CA, and across the country with IEP meetings and negotiations as well as the inevitable ongoing special education issues that arise with every child in every school. Most importantly, parents and families need clear explanations about what rights their children have and the laws that create these rights.
My primary focus is on children on the autistic spectrum, or related problems for families facing these issues. (I also have a specific interest in any cases from certain areas of New Jersey, Manhattan, and the SF Bay Area.) Raising our son and watching him move through the progression from early intervention to an in-district program to a private home program to an appropriate placement is perhaps the best education I could have received as a lawyer. I have seen how widely different school districts can approach the same issues, which means that some districts do not understand the issues. It falls on the parents to educate and convince their district. Imagine how much easier that task will be with someone else to carry the burden of persuasion without having to block out the emotions that are with us through every day with our kids.
The one thing our children have on their side is youth, but that makes time and delay their enemy. As days slip by without an appropriate placement, effective services, and meaningful progress, the burden of learning we place on our already struggling children makes it harder, or even impossible, for them to catch up to typical peers. My overriding goal is to speed the resolution of placement challenges and other special education disruptions so that your child gets to an appropriate placement as quickly as possible.