About Special Education Station

Mission Statement

To bring together Special Education Parents and Professionals from all walks of life, in order to support one another and create the most effective educational team, in order to help each child reach their full potential and create balance within their lives.

 About The Special Education Station

I am not sure how old I was when my parents explained to me that Sara had Down syndrome.  However I must have been pretty young because I “shared” her in preschool!  I do remember my mom showing me a picture of her chromosomes and showing me the extra one on the 21st pair.  I brought that paper to school with a picture of my sister and proudly showed it to all my friends.  Little did I know how that particular event would determine my life’s path.

As Sara and I grew up I loved to play school with her.  She was a willing participant because she liked following me around, and to this day, she still wants to do things I am doing.

My sister and I sightseeing in Boston.

My sister and I sightseeing in Boston.

In our house we were all “equal.”  My parents treated my sister and I the same when it came to helping with chores, participating in sports, and all those

familiar family activities. They always believed that Sara could achieve anything she put her mind to, even if it took her more time than it took me. We saw Down syndrome less as a “disability” and more as a “different ability.”  I was always given an “assignment” by my sister’s early childhood teachers (the teachers that came to the house until she was preschool age), which was something I would help her with throughout the week.

By participating my Sara’s early education first-hand, I saw the trials, tribulations and successes it took to get my sister the best possible education.  I remember thinking how important it is for a teacher to help parents navigate the world of special education.  It was then that I decided  I wanted to do that for parents as well.  I wanted to help parents like mine get the best education for their child.

By the time I got to high school I was coaching Special Olympics and teaching adaptive aquatics.  I was in a club called Project Interdependence, which focused on a person’s ability – not disability – and was comprised of people of all abilities, including special needs students.  It seemed natural at age 17 to go into the teaching profession and focus on Special Education.  I graduated from Gonzaga University with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education.  I later completed a master’s degree in Special Education at the University of San Diego.

 

In 1998 I began teaching in public schools.  I started in a preschool for kids who had autism and then moved into a K-6 grade class for the moderately/severely disabled.  After 11 years working with the K-6 class, I left the public school system to work for a non-profit that focused on early intervention with children 0-3 years old.  My philosophy has always been that everyone needs to look at what is right for the child.  This has its benefits and downfalls when it comes to public schools and working with a non-profit allowed me to live by my philosophy on a daily basis.

Me working with one of my students on a fine motor art project.

Me working with one of my students on a fine motor art project.

But there was still something missing in my life.  I knew back in high school I wanted to help parents navigate the world of special education and that working in a school setting presented a limited number of people I could help at any given time.  This got me thinking how I could empower more parents to become leaders in their child’s education like my parents did.  That is how The Special Education Station was born.

By using the amazing technology we have today, I can reach so many more families at one time and help them become leaders in their child’s education.  By creating an online resource that has skill-based activities that directly correlate with IEP goals, parents can work with their children at home without having to spend so much money on toys.

I then realized how many professionals I knew who were specialists in their field.  I asked them to join this community so their knowledge can help so many parents and children.  They were all for it, and those specialists became the guest expert bloggers for The Special Education Station.

Finally I realized how a helpful and caring community truly makes all the difference to families.  That is what my mom found when my sister was born.  Life is busier than ever, so what better way to find that caring community than having an online family that people can turn to when they have a few minutes between activities throughout the day.

That is how The Special Education Station was born.

 

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