I am a proud mother of two amazing children who on the Autism Spectrum; an Autism advocate; and an educator. I have been working with children, parents and teachers for 25 years in many capacities. I worked with gang kids in Los Angeles County and young parents involved in the criminal system. I was a Parent educator and provided workshops that gave tools for parents dealing with challenging behaviors and I worked with teachers dealing with impossible classroom conditions for children with multiple disabilities.
Children are struggling to succeed in schools today and teachers are struggling to meet the many diverse needs of their students. This becomes increasingly more challenging while trying to meet the regulations of the No Child Left Behind standards combined with the IDEA Act that ensures that children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education, just like other children. According to an article in The Huffington Post (March 27, 2014), one in 68 children in the United States have now been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, as released by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than the CDC's previous measure, released in 2012, which found that 1 in 88 children had autism, based on health and education records. In the same timeframe, national and state education regulations have set standards that teachers are expected to follow and produce results with while working with huge unprecedented diversity of learning needs in the classrooms. A substantial amount of research shows that students who have literacy problems early in their academic career fall behind and never fully recover. Many of them become frustrated; give up and become discipline problems. Frequently these disinterested student drops out of school; are suspended; or are expelled because of chronic disciplinary infractions. In other words, early deficiency in literacy development may well affect students into adulthood. Research explains the natural link between reading deficiency and chronic misbehavior as such, “when students fall behind in their reading level, they become embarrassed or disinterested in school and may become a discipline problem.” Many claim the link between the two factors makes sense and can be easily identified in the majority of the schools in America. While early literacy is of utmost importance, improving literacy skills in older children can change the direction of a child’s adult life. The Mission of Tiny Seeds For A Bright Future is to address the needs of students with learning challenges; provide resources and support for their parents and help teachers become more effective for all students. The first point I’d like to address is the importance of age appropriate literature for older low level readers. Young adults and teens do not find it thrilling to read about the lazy little puppy. By increasing the number of high-interest, low-literacy stories for struggling readers to enjoy, we increase the student’s motivation to read. In turn, they increase their literacy abilities. If students find the reading material boring; too complicated or too childish, it becomes one more obstacle to developing a student’s literacy skills. We, as a community, will strive to help find books, or write them in some causes, that feature teen or young adult characters and exciting story-lines. Secondly, children with Autism often develop certain skills at a much later age, such as language & literacy skills, social competency and interaction skills, and independent living skills. We want to provide literature that help develop these skills. We can do this by creating resources for individualized social stories within our community. Our blog is such a resource that will make it easier for older readers, teachers, or parents to find and share engaging books with friends and students. Whether they are new readers, teachers, or parents- facing learning challenges.
I was recently interviewed and invited to attend a Time To Teach training in Sedona, AZ on May 01-04, 2014. Candidates are carefully interviewed and evaluated before their acceptance. I am honored to have been selected to attend this world-class training. Personally, I am looking forward to this unique opportunity to learn Time To Teach, a research based classroom management program that will help improve the teaching and learning for the students in our local schools. Upon my return, I will be a certified trainer who can share these powerful strategies with the teachers, schools and students of our community.
I have a BA in Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Education and I am a candidate Certified Autism Specialist.
For the last couple year I lived in Austin, Texas where I was the program manager of Family Support Services and Juvenile Justice Services for a distinguished Non-Profit organization that serves individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. This allowed me to return to my quest to provide advocacy for parents, students and teachers working with challenges in learning. Upon my return to Colorado, I became a Site Director for Tri-County Head Start/Early Head Start but left that position to take time to complete the Masters program at Ashford University. I now have a unique opportunity to write social stories and high-interest/low-literacy stories for older beginner readers and as a certified TIME TO TEACHTM trainer, travel the country to promote teacher effectiveness skills. I feel that for me to have the freedom to share my diverse experiences and to best benefit students, parents and teachers to the highest of my ability is to work as an independent education consultant.