Cover art for podcast Special Education Advocacy with Ashley Barlow

Special Education Advocacy with Ashley Barlow

165 EpisodesProduced by Ashley BarlowWebsite

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 spe… read more

165 Episodes | 2020 - 2023

My One Tip for Getting It Done

November 28th, 2023


Coming to you live (actually recorded) from my kitchen!!!  And my desk.  And my bathroom.  With an episode on getting it all done!  In today’s episode, which is the second in our Parent Series, I’m giving you one quick …

Meet our Coach, Riss Rothermel

November 21st, 2023


Today we welcome our outstanding tutor and Coach, Marissa Rothermel, to the podcast. Riss excels at providing behavior coaching to parents, and in this episode, she and I dive into what coaching looks like, behavior, …

Epiphany in Parenting with Ellen Snow

November 14th, 2023


You know those moms that are so wise that you wish you could just sit at the counters and watch them, parent? Wisdom abounds with the first guest in …

Parenting a Spicy One with Mary Van Geffen

November 7th, 2023


If you don’t know Mary Van Geffen, you’re going to want to!  This was the kind of conversation that I thought about for a week after! 


Mary Van Geffen is the international parenting coach for moms of Spicy Ones. She …

The Art of Nurturing Coping Skills

October 31st, 2023


We understand that this stage of your child's life can be especially challenging, and we're here to provide valuable insights and practical tips.

  • 👂 …

Principals Taking a Hands-On Approach in IEP Meetings

October 24th, 2023


In this episode, we delve into the pivotal role principals play in special education, showcasing how their leadership supercharges our IEP …

Discover the World of Neuropsychology

October 17th, 2023


Join us in our latest podcast episode as we unravel the fascinating realm of neuropsychology and how it can be a lifeline for parents navigating IEPs …

Fill Your Cup

October 10th, 2023


The middle of the semester can only mean one thing. Parents are exhausted. Midterms and carpools and snack bags! Oh, my! I have been working on …

Bell Curve 101

October 3rd, 2023


We’ve talked about evaluations and eligibility a fair amount here, but we’ve never talked about the Bell Curve (I don’t think!).  Since it’s so, so important to understanding your child’s evaluation data, I’m giving you …

Organization Hacks for Special Education Parents

September 26th, 2023


Join us in this week's episode as we unpack game-changing strategies to keep your special education journey on track, stress-free, and empowering. From setting up a dedicated space to mastering communication logs, we've …

A Super Simple Negotiation Strategy

September 19th, 2023


What is your WATNA and your BATNA? In today's episode well talk about a negotiation strategy, that is so simple that it is often overlooked. However, I have seen it benefit so many negotiations in incredible ways. …

Unlocking Potential: Accommodations & Modifications in IEP

September 13th, 2023


In this insightful episode, we dive deep into the world of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and explore the vital role that accommodations and …

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

September 5th, 2023


I believe that song lyrics can really help us through so many of life’s experiences, and this is, of course, true of our experiences in advocating for our children in special education.  I was raised on Jimmy Buffett …

No Time to Prepare for That IEP Meeting? I Got You!

August 29th, 2023


Listen. Life happens. Sure, you have the best intentions to spend a few minutes every day during the two weeks leading up to your IEP meeting, preparing for the meeting, but let's face it. You don't always have time. …

Parent Collaboration to Promote Inclusion

August 22nd, 2023


🎙️ Join us on our latest podcast episode,  "Parent Collaboration to Promote Inclusion," as we explore powerful ways parents can make a difference in …

Episode 150: Ashley Unscripted: The 150th Episode Special!

August 18th, 2023


Hey, fabulous listeners! You might've done a double-take, thinking, "Wait, that's not Ashley's voice!" and you'd be right! I'm Rachel Starr, the …

Inclusion vs Integration: A Huge Difference

August 8th, 2023


👉 Are you passionate about inclusivity? 👈We’re back from our little summer break with a new episode on Inclusivity and Integration.  


Join me as we delve into the heart of the matter, exploring the crucial differences …

Core Principles to Inclusive Education

August 1st, 2023


In this episode, we explore the core principles of inclusive education. In the context of education, inclusion refers to the practice of providing equal access to quality education within a general education setting for …

Building and Accessing a School Community In the Summer

July 11th, 2023


Welcome to the world of Cs at abC! Clever, isn't it? 🧩 In today's podcast episode, we're honing in on two of my favorite C words - Communication and Community. We'll be exploring how you can stay connected with your …

Celebrations…and Teenagers. A Happy Birthday to Jack!

July 3rd, 2023


It's a birthday week around here… And tomorrow, our Jackman will be a TEENAGER!  This is equally terrifying and exciting!  In today’s episode, I’ll share some reflections on Jack’s pre-teen years, some lessons I’ve …

A No Fail Negotiation Strategy I Learned from Jack

June 27th, 2023


I learn something from Jack Barlow almost every day of my life. The simple wisdom that he emulates is such a blessing to our family and community. In …

Phonological Awareness

June 20th, 2023


In today's episode, we take a fascinating journey into the world of Phonological Awareness, a crucial skill often considered as the ability to 'play …

The Power of Yes!

June 13th, 2023


No, no, no!  Goodness, do we ever get tired of our children saying, “No!”  I thought it was bad with toddlers… now I have (almost) two teen-agers, and I’d love to hear “Yes” just once a week!!!! 

It's hard to be on …

Unleashing the Awesome Surprises of Online Tutoring with the Marvelous Michelle Breitenbach!

June 6th, 2023


Need more time in your week?

Tired of running kids to activities and therapies?

Wanna just enjoy your neighborhood pool or sit by a ball field?

Want …

Why The Science of Reading Works

May 30th, 2023


You’ve heard about - and maybe even asked for - a multi-sensory, evidence-based reading program, but what does that really mean?  In this webinar …

Killing Two Birds - SOR (Science Of Reading)

May 23rd, 2023


Last week we scratched the surface on the Science of Reading. Last week I also dropped all the balls, and I had to cancel a free webinar on the Science of Reading. So, this week’s podcast is basically a deeper dive …

The Science of Reading: Is It For Me?

May 16th, 2023


Science is a systematic and logical approach to discovering how the natural world works.  So, the Science of Reading is the result of a systematic …

Hand-Writing Supports with Dyslexia Guru, Michelle Morgan

May 9th, 2023


Today we welcome Michelle Morgan, SLP and dyslexia guru, to the podcast! Michelle is walking us through a hand-writing program she designed, giving us lots of tips and information on how hand-writing supports the …

Neurodiversity Affirming Practice at Therapy and Beyond with Rosemarie Griffin

May 2nd, 2023


Today we welcome Rosemarie Griffin of ABA Speech, and we talk about a super hot topic: how – and why- we can incorporate neurodiversity affirming practices into our therapy, tutoring, and even play sessions with …

Potty Training and Behavior with Molly Johnson

April 25th, 2023


I know from my time on non-profit boards that Potty Training is always a popular topic amongst parents.  That’s why I couldn’t believe that it had …

Why Multi-Sensory Reading Programs Work with Hanna Stroud

April 18th, 2023


Of all the educators on IG that I follow, I think I’m the biggest fangirl of Hanna at My Literacy Space.  Over the past few years, I’ve so enjoyed …

Reading Simplified with Marnie Ginsburg

April 11th, 2023


Marnie Ginsberg, Founder of Reading Simplified, is a reading difficulties detective who streamlines the science and art of reading instruction so …

What's Your IEP Meeting Personality Type?

April 4th, 2023


What's Your IEP Meeting Personality Type?  Are you Frazzled Frances, the mom that's always running behind, completely capable of advocating more but …

3 Tips for Preparing for an IEP Meeting

March 28th, 2023


Don’t stress before your annual IEP meeting. I’ve got three simple tips that will help you prepare and feel calm before your meeting! These are all things you’ve heard before - but infused with experience from hundreds …

Preparing For Your Annual IEP Meeting

March 21st, 2023


It’s IEP Season, and that can only mean one thing.  Parents in special education are freaking out!!!!  In today’s episode, I talk about why the annual meeting is just like any other meeting, give you tips for preparing …

Celebrating the Unexpected and Undergoing Transformation with Jillian Benfield

March 14th, 2023


Chances are you’ve experienced the Unexpected, and if you’ve stuck around here in the make-lemonade place that I’ve created, you have probably embraced the Unexpected as a Gift.  Today I welcome author, blogger, and …

Forget Me Not: Inclusion in the Classroom with Oliver and Hilda Bernier

March 7th, 2023


In today’s episode we talk with Olivier and Hilda Bernier about their documentary, Forget Me Not, and man alive, are your advocacy bones going to tremble!  The documentary features their story regarding their son’s …

Busting Burn Out at Schools with Brent Duka

February 28th, 2023


What’s woodworking have to do with education?  What’s teaching have to do with mental health?  What do woodworking, teacher, mental health, and darn good people have in common?  Brent Duka, that’s what!  Today’s podcast …

Behavior Supports at School with Dr. Annie McLaughlin

February 21st, 2023


Dr. Annie McLaughlin joins us today to talk about behavior supports at school.  We’ll learn what behavior analysts do, how they work in schools, and …

Building a Collaborative IEP Team - Focusing on the TEAM!

February 14th, 2023


When you think “IEP team,” do you think “teamwork?”  The question is also preposterous!  But it doesn’t have to be.  Congress called it an IEP team and required the participation of certain individuals.  Certainly, they …

An Advocate’s Journey

February 7th, 2023


The #1 question people ask me after consultations is, “How do I become an advocate?”  Tons of parents and educators see the important work of …

Red Flags at the IEP Table

January 31st, 2023


Do you ever feel lonely as a parent in the disability community? Ever feel like the whole world is against you? Just me? JK- I know we all feel that …

Ignite the Fire

January 24th, 2023


You might call it filling your cup. I igniting the fire! Networking with people in my community, attending conferences, getting dumped on. These are all reminders of why we do our advocacy. Keeping the children that we …

Getting an Evaluation for Your Child

January 17th, 2023


The first episode I recorded with school-psych-turned-advocate, April Rehrig, has been on my Top Ten list since it launched. It makes sense then that …

Think inclusion with Tim Villegas

January 10th, 2023


Thinking inclusively is not only a mindset for today’s podcast guest; it’s his job. Tim Villegas joins me on today’s episode to talk about inclusive education. Tim founded a company called Think Inclusive, and it’s …

3 Foundational Skills for Every Special Education Advocate

January 3rd, 2023


Every special education advocate has uttered the sentence, “I should go to law school;” and every special education attorney has considered a Masters …

Trends In Special Education Advocacy in 2022

December 27th, 2022


This episode is a 2022 Year in Review!!!  I’ll walk you through a few trends that I saw in my own office and in the larger special education advocacy community.  I’ll also introduce you to my 2023 Free Virtual …

Early Intervention with Eryn Yolac

December 20th, 2022


Today we welcome Erin Yolac, an educational advocate from sunny California!  Erin and I explore her advocacy journey through the lens of her own …

Ten Tips to Surviving the Holidays with your Neurodiverse Family: Adding Structure to Unstructured Time

December 6th, 2022


Christmas Chaos!  It’s so normal and relatable.  But wouldn’t you rather relate to people with a peaceful heart and mind?!  In today’s episode, I …

Special Education Advocacy from the Inside Out

November 29th, 2022


Beth Liesenfeld was an OT that provided school-based supports for years.  She observed families that got what they wanted and deserved and families …

Better Speech? Yes Please!

November 22nd, 2022


Better Speech? Yes please! In today’s episode, I talk with Lenora Edwards, a speech and language therapist, about online speech therapy and language development. You’ll learn how language develops in children as they …

A Picture of Worth 1000 Words: Progress Monitoring Visuals

November 15th, 2022


You keep the data. You report the data. You’re all about the data. But they still don’t listen! Have you ever tried to capitulate your child’s data …

Common Progress Monitoring Pitfalls

November 8th, 2022


In today’s episode of the podcast, I will review for common pitfalls in progress monitoring. I grabbed these pitfalls from an article, but they are definitely things that I have seen in my practice repeatedly. Of …

Data. Not the end of the story.

November 1st, 2022


In today’s episode, we are going to talk about all of the ancillary information that can impact data. This information is super important to understand and to consider when evaluating data. Incoming weeks we will talk …

Using Your Parenting Skills to Advocate

October 25th, 2022


Conflict adverse? This episode is for you! A few weeks ago, I was sitting in an IEP meeting and used a negotiation strategy that I’d just used in parenting Jack. I realized the irony… our children TEACH us skills that …

Facing the Challenge of Advocating for Executive Functioning Supports

October 18th, 2022


A couple weeks ago, I was asked to speak on a Hot Topic in special education advocacy at a conference for people with ADHD. Without hesitating, I suggested that I speak about executive functioning – and not only EF – …

The Most Simple Negotiation Strategy

October 11th, 2022


It seems so simple. Too simple. Unbelievably simple. Like do negotiation experts actually teach this? Do law schools professors actually harp on …

The Mindset of Advocates

October 4th, 2022


In preparing for my new job, I’ve been cleaning my office building and preparing to rent it out. It’s been a real trip down memory lane. As I’ve thought about all of my favorite attorneys and advocates, a few verbs …

A Code to Behavior

September 27th, 2022


A Book called “The Behavior Code?” Yes please! In today’s episode, I summarize one of my most favorite books, “The Behavior Code,” by Jessica Minahan and Nancy Rappaport, MD. Let me tell you… if you read just the first …

Two Website You Must Know

September 20th, 2022


My dad, our beloved Kurtie, often prays, “God, give me patience, and give it to me NOW!” If you’re a parent in special education, you can relate to this, and you may have whispered, “God, give me resources, and give …

How to find the policy documents you NEED!

September 13th, 2022


One of the things I use most often in my advocacy is the United States Department of education's policy documents. These documents can help yield …

An Elevator Speech on Behavior for your IEP Meetings

September 6th, 2022


I see this trend at IEP meetings…. Teams start discussion topics like inclusion or strategies like reading interventions, and they keep getting stuck. The real reason they’re getting stuck is because the child is …

Becoming Empowered During The Special Education Process

August 30th, 2022


I had my first IEP meeting of the school year last week, and when my client told me it was the first one that didn’t make her cry in years, it hit …

Back to The Pool--- Err, School

August 23rd, 2022


Do you struggle to find the right balance this time of year?  Avid pool patrons, we try to squeeze out EVERY bit of fun in the sun; but we also all …

Kayla Schadegg, Mrs. Kansas International, Advocate for People with Down Syndrome

August 16th, 2022


Kayla Schadegg uses her platform at Mrs. Kansas International to advocate for people with Down syndrome. Do I have your attention?!  Yes, that’s right! I have a real live beauty queen on the podcast today, and we aren’t …

Five Big Lessons I’ve Learned in 100 Episodes

August 9th, 2022


Happy 100th Episode, ABC friends!!!  If we were in a school, we’d likely be dressing as 100-year-olds, complete with walkers and bushy eyebrows!  In …

Three Tips for your All About Me Book

August 2nd, 2022


The turning of the calendar page to August is a good reminder to start working on that Back to School Communication!  Have you updated your All About …

From Teacher to Advocate: The Story of an ABC Student

July 26th, 2022


I can’t wait to share with you Holly’s story.  Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, or already an advocate, you’ll find some way to connect with Holly …

A discussion about 34 CFR 300.116

July 12th, 2022


In today’s short, sweet episode we look at 34 CFR 300.116, a regulation that teases out inclusion really nicely and gives us a LOT of help in arguing …

Advocating From Your Gut

June 28th, 2022


You know when your intuition just tells you something is right, but you have a hard time advocating? It’s like you know something is right, but you …

The Ins and Outs of Tutoring with Kelsey Frobeen

June 20th, 2022


Have you ever wondered if you should get tutoring for your child that is on an IEP or 504 Plan?  How do you find a tutor?  How do you know if they’re …

All About Visuals with Tara Tuchel of Autism Little Learners

June 14th, 2022


Visual Schedules Made Easy?!  Yes please!  If anyone has ever told you that your child would benefit from visuals, this episode is for you!  Right? …

3 Common Issues Arising in Advocacy in the 21-22 School Year

June 7th, 2022


In today’s episode, I discuss 3 topics/ issues that have arisen frequently in my special education law practice and that advocates and attorneys …

The one and only Jack Barlow!!!!!

May 31st, 2022


If you can’t beat them, join them!  I set an alarm to record early one morning over Memorial Day weekend, but my sweet guy had other plans… Jack woke up, too!  He interrupted my first ten attempts at recording, sooooo …

The Difference Between Private and School Evaluations with Dr. Brandi Tanner

May 24th, 2022


You’re not going to want to miss this episode. It’s so full of great information and advocacy tips – not just for people exploring eligibility but …

Three Things You Should Do Before Summer

May 17th, 2022


Sorry. It’s May.  Graduations, Sports, Awards Ceremonies, Gardening, … You know the To Do list of Craziness that the month of May brings!  Now I’m adding to the list!  Buuuuuuuttttt – Can you think ahead to August and …

Demand Letters 101

May 10th, 2022


One of the negotiation strategies I use most frequently is a Demand Letter.  In today’s super quick episode I introduce you to the Demand Letter and talk a little bit about how to write them. Once you master the Demand …

The Autism Helper, Sasha Long

May 3rd, 2022


Join me for this week’s podcast, a discussion with Sasha Long, BCBA, MA, the Autism Helper.  Sasha works as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a …

Five Things Attorneys and Advocates Say In Almost Every Meeting

April 26th, 2022


It started with an idea for a Freebie for you.  It turned into a stream of consciousness!!!  Today I share a little Behind the Scenes insight into things attorneys and advocates say often – and the reason we say them! 

“We All Relate” with Kelly Jones

April 19th, 2022


Our Birth Stories. The Missed Milestones. The Comparison Game. Finding and Maintaining Child Care. Worries about Siblings. Our Jobs as Lifeguards, Therapists, Doctors, Researchers, Teachers, and General Contractors. …

One Helpful Strategy to Use This “IEP Season”

April 12th, 2022


Before I outlined today’s podcast episode, I triple checked that I hadn’t done this topic before,  because it’s nearly impossible that we’re 85 episodes in, and I haven’t talked about this IEP meeting tip… The Future …

Lessons I’ve Learned In Life and As an Advocate

April 5th, 2022


I’ve had a lot of perspective-shifting experiences in my life.  I was seriously injured as a kid and have chronic pain and PTSD as a result, my son …

Including Schedule Into Inclusion Arguments

March 29th, 2022


I have been talking to a few friends and lots of clients about inclusion recently. I feel like this is super practical strategy helps everybody so much. I can really be a game changer at the IEP table. In today’s …

Part of the IEP- Ashley Barlow Style

March 22nd, 2022


I bet you’ve gone to a billion presentations on the Parts of the IEP, but this episode approaches that from a different aspect.  Are you ready?  In today’s episode, I do indeed describe the different parts of the IEP, …

Know Your Rights: Parent Involvement

March 15th, 2022


You know when you and your bestie speak the same language? That’s how it is when Traci Brewer and I get together, especially if Parent Involvement is …

Using Compassion and Boundaries in Our Advocacy

March 8th, 2022


“If we really want to practice compassion, we have to start by setting boundaries and holding people accountable for their behavior.” -Brene Brown, …


March 1st, 2022


You’ve asked, and here’s our answer: Of course I’ll do an episode on goal writing.  In today’s episode I give you my “whole picture” assessment of a …

Is extended school year advocacy the bane of your existence?

February 22nd, 2022


In today’s episode a talk about one factor that IEP teams should consider which may strengthen your advocacy for extended school year services. We …

Dyslexia Advocacy: It Doesn’t Have to Be This Hard!

February 15th, 2022


It Doesn’t Have to Be This Hard, friends.  That’s the name of my friend, Michelle Morgan’s, new e- book about dyslexia advocacy, and it’s also a very true statement.  In today’s episode we give you a little preview of …

Ready Set Goals!!!

February 8th, 2022


Ready, Set, Goals!!!  Special Education puns.  That’s how low I am willing to sink for a podcast title.  Sorry, not sorry.  In today’s episode I’m giving you the ten-minute ditty on why we have goals in special …

Everything You Need To Know About Special Education

February 1st, 2022


Big celebrations happening over here at ABCo! The Cincinnati Bengals are going to the Super Bowl, our podcast has been downloaded 25,000 times, AND we’re publishing Podcast #75!!!! To celebrate, I’m bringing you a …

One Small Shift that Makes a Huge Difference

January 25th, 2022


I call it “relentless optimism.”  It is an attitude that serves me well in IEP meeting after IEP meeting. In today's episode I will share with you how this one simple mindset shift can make a huge difference in your …

Community Organizations: A How To….

January 20th, 2022


We talk about community a lot over here at ABCo.  In this bonus episode, I chat with Angela Tyszka, advocate and speaker at this year’s SEA Conference.  Angela has worked in universities, elementary, middle, and high …

How Standardized Tests Miss the Mark on Student Performance

January 18th, 2022


I’ve seen this a million times.  A student’s evaluation report shows average scores - maybe with a few relative weaknesses- but the student’s …

Tales From the Classroom -  And the Parent’s Desk: A Chat With A Teacher AND a Parent

January 11th, 2022


What do you want from me?!!!!  That’s what my clients sometimes want to ask of their child’s teachers.  Parents struggle with special education communication.  What do I say?  When do I communicate?  Why does the …

Real Life Parallels to Special Education Advocacy

January 4th, 2022


Stars: They’re just like us.  Special Education: It’s just like your every day life. For many reasons, advocating for a child with in special education is intimidating, but in today’s episode, I’m making a real life …

The Glamorous World of Goal and Evaluation Results Tracking

December 28th, 2021


Now that we got your all organized last week, it's time to dive into your child's profile. Remember that the "I" in "IEP" is "individualized." I see so many IEPs that do not address the specific needs and strengths of …

Let’s Get Organized!!!

December 21st, 2021


The first step to effective advocacy is organization. You have to know a child - both objectively and subjectively- in order to develop a good plan for him or her. Parents are usually experts on subjective information - …

Efficiency is the Name of the Game

December 14th, 2021


Today’s episode has nothing and everything to do with special education advocacy.  I’m sharing a few tips that I have learned the hard way on how to …

6 Things You Need Before You Write IEP Goals

November 30th, 2021


You’ve probably attend a zillion and one seminars about writing IEP goals.  Don’t get me wrong… I do think those are helpful.  IEP goals are very …


November 23rd, 2021


We’re talking gratitude on the podcast today. When I taught, I found the job to be somewhat thankless. I’ll explore why I think gratitude should play …

Sensory Regulation

November 15th, 2021


Sensory Integration is what makes the world go ‘round in the Barlow household.  You know that shirt from the 80’s that said, “If Mama ain’t happy, …

The Benefit of Going To School

November 9th, 2021


Go.  To.  School.  If I could give you one tip about how to advocate for your child, it would simply be to go to school.  Get involved.  Be present.  …

A Chat with Rachel Schwartz on Behavior Support

November 2nd, 2021


Respect. Aretha Franklin saying about it for a reason. It’s something we all deserve and something we all crave. But sometimes when we are trying to support a child behaviorally, we forget about respect. I see this so …

“How do you do your job?  How do I get a job doing this?”

October 26th, 2021


“How do you do your job?  How do I get a job doing this?”  If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked this question, well, as BNL would say, …

What Does a Special Education Advocate Do?

October 19th, 2021


Last week I interviewed two special education advocates on Instagram live, and you learned a lot about their day-to-day lives. In today’s episode, I summarize it for you. I describe exactly what an advocate does. This …

“When do I know if I should bring an advocate to a meeting?”

October 12th, 2021


This is one of the questions I’m asked most often when I speak to disability organizations, so I’m giving you my answer in today’s episode.  I think …

Chatting with Military Mom, Advocate, Special Educator, Carla Wyrsch

October 5th, 2021


Some people are just extraordinary at their jobs!  I can’t wait for you to meet Military Mom, Special Education Advocate, and Teacher Carla Wyrsch.  …

Checking in on COVID learning

September 28th, 2021


Holy cow!  The floodgates have opened!  I think I got a new referral every day last week, and SO MANY of the cases had to do with COVID-19 learning.  …

Transitioning to Adulthood with Renowned Advocates, Rachel and Jawanda Mast

September 21st, 2021


If there was a foreign language in special education, it would be Transition to Adulthood.  When IEPs start to consider a child’s transition to …

Losing the Loneliness as a Parent in the Disability Community: Lessons of a Life Coach Who’s Been Where You Are

September 14th, 2021


Tina B., life coach and parent in our big, beautiful disability community, delivers life lessons through storytelling.  Today we wrap up our 3-part …

Controlling the Chaos: Lessons of a Life Coach Who’s Been Where You Are

September 7th, 2021


“When we believe that we are in control, it adds to the chaos.”  Oh man, friends!  You’re in for a big treat in this podcast episode, Part 2 of our …

Refined By Fire: Lessons of a Life Coach Who’s Been Where You Are

August 31st, 2021


My 1 Year Anniversary gift to you is a podcast series with Tina Beauvais, a life coach that has been “refined through the fire,” a parent like you …

Get Trained By the Best – Advocacy Training with Rachel and Jawanda Mast

August 24th, 2021


Advocate.  A person who publicly supports a cause of policy.  No matter the path we took to get here, we all ended at the same point: Advocate.  Some …

How to Help Your Child Have A Smooth Transition Back To School

August 17th, 2021


Sure, you know to buy the number two pencils and notebooks that will come home almost completely unused. You bleach the mold out of the lunchbox and …

Getting Funny with Rob Snow and Nick Doyle

August 10th, 2021


I hope you’re ready to laugh!  Today’s guests, Rob Snow and Nick Doyle are masters at improvisation, and they had me laughing before we even hit record.  Rob started a non-profit called StandUp for Downs and performs …

Advocacy from the Teacher’s Perspective

August 3rd, 2021


Did you ever wonder if teachers feel compelled to advocate for their students?  Ever wonder what kind of advocacy and teamwork they desire from and with parents?  In today’s episode I talk with Ms. Lucy from …

My favorite advocacy strategy

July 27th, 2021


Want to know my favorite advocacy strategy?  It’s something you can do on the first day of school with very little effort, and it will give you SO …

The #1 Reason I Turn Away Cases as a Special Education Attorney

July 20th, 2021


In the legal field, lines are often blurred.  Attorneys are kind of famous for saying, “Well, maybe.”  And, “It depends!”  But there’s one kind of case that I always turn away.  It’s not so much the case itself… it’s …

Learn About Evaluations From School-Psych-Turned-Advocate, Erin Mahaffey

July 13th, 2021


If you have a child in special education, you have undoubtedly Received an educational evaluation. If you have received an educational evaluation, you have undoubtedly been confused, frustrated, and maybe even downright …

Let’s Talk About Behavior

July 6th, 2021


We are getting into the nitty-gritty with behavior in this weeks episode.  I keep a list of common behavior strategies that school can employ while …

Advocacy 101 with Jena Wells

June 29th, 2021


“Advocate” is a title all of us bear, but it may be one that brings hesitancy, overwhelm, and intimidation.  Most parents and caregivers in the disability community did not set out to become advocates.  Rather, our …

Adding Objective Arguments To Your Advocacy

June 22nd, 2021


The first step to effective advocacy is organization. You have to know a child - both objectively and subjectively- in order to develop a good plan for him or her. Parents are usually experts on subjective information - …

Helpful Inclusion Strategies

June 15th, 2021


Parents often consult with me for ideas on how their child’s school can be more inclusive.  I’ve come up with a list of ideas by thinking on the …

Equity, Education, and More with Heather Avis from the Lucky Few

June 8th, 2021


I’m using my Oprah voice.  Please welcome HEATHER AVIS!  That’s right, Heather Avis of the Lucky Few joins me in this week’s episode.  Heather is an author, blogger, narrative shifter, and shouter of worth.

In the …

What To Do When Meetings Go Sideways

June 1st, 2021


Nobody expects IEP meetings to go sideways; yet, discussions over get rhetorical and unproductive.  In today’s episode I am sharing three super practical, easy steps that will help you get discussions back on the right …

Using USDOE Guidance in an Inclusion Argument: Letter to Autin

May 25th, 2021


The  United States Department of Education gives us several gifts every year.  The come by way of Dear Colleague Letters and Guidance Documents.  In …

It’s a Happy Hour with Ray Nelson

May 18th, 2021


Ray Nelson Advocacy and IEP Coaching Bio

I approach advocacy and IEP coaching a little differently. Part of that is my background, which is in sales …

Three Things I Bring to an MDR

May 10th, 2021


A Manifestation Determination Review is a nice safeguard in special education.  IDEA and state laws require IEP teams to meet when a child with a …

Wrapping Up the School Year with Success

May 4th, 2021


We met on the podcast back in September to talk about how to start off the school year with success.  Why does it feel like that was five years …

Identifying Executive Function Disorders In Your Child

April 27th, 2021


If your child is disorganized, has a hard time regulating emotions, doesn’t self-start, and can’t ride the wave of life’s ups and downs, you may want …

The Parallels Between SPED Advocacy and Real Life

April 20th, 2021


Special education advocacy, while often stressful and complicated, is really akin to so many experiences in other areas of life.  Somehow, though, …

Strategies You can Use at the IEP Table and Beyond During COVID 19

April 13th, 2021


Now that we’re seeing light at the end of the COVID tunnel, I thought you may be ready for an updated podcast episode on special education during the pandemic.  Today’s episode brings strategies you can use to effect …

Adding Empathy to Discussions at the IEP Table

March 29th, 2021


“How can a heart understand the pain of another heart and still do nothing?” -Harshada Pathare.

I’m constantly asked by parents, “Why can’t they just …

Making Sense of Evaluation Reports

March 23rd, 2021


Evaluation reports can drive parents in special education absolutely crazy! I was talking to a friend last week, and she said that she was tempted to …

Allllll Things Dyslexia, Part THREE

March 16th, 2021


The Grand Finale---  Join me today for PART THREE of our big dyslexia podcast.  Daphne Corder, our big dyslexia guru, finishes up this three-part series with the big question.  How Do We Know If They’re Doing It Right?  …

Allllll Things Dyslexia, Part TWO

March 9th, 2021


Soooo many of you reached out with compliments on last week’s podcast with Daphne Corder.  Good news…  she’s back!  In Part Two of our podcast, …

Allllll Things Dyslexia

March 2nd, 2021


Daphne Corder prepared an incredible, thorough presentation for my January Conference on Dyslexia called How Do You Know If They’re Doing the Right Thing? It was over an hour and so, so intensive.  The only problem: we …

A Deep Dive into Behavioral Support with Dr. David Kuhn

February 23rd, 2021


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, …

Adding and All About Me Book to Your Advocacy at the IEP Table

February 16th, 2021


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 …

Three Common Mistakes Made in IEP Meetings

February 9th, 2021


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 …

The Fear of Conflict

February 2nd, 2021


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 …

A Success Story with Chrissy Bailey, Lab student

January 26th, 2021


Meet Chrissy Baily, mom extraordinaire and graceful advocate for her adorable children, Juni and Johnnie.  Chrissy had talked with representatives at …

My Story

January 19th, 2021


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 …

Beginning A Journey In Parent Advocacy with Diana Abril

January 12th, 2021


Join me on today’s podcast episode as I chat with my good friend, Diana Abril, special education attorney and parent.  Diana and I not only talk about the importance of parent advocacy but also about steps that she’s …

We’re Talking Inclusion and Least Restrictive Environment with Courtney Hansen

January 5th, 2021


Do you ever wonder how the experts do it?  What if  a poli-sci major that worked as a journalist and knew how to get the bottom of things got a …

Three Tips for Preparing for Second Semester --- During a Pandemic

December 29th, 2020


We met on the podcast at the beginning of the semester – what was that eight years ago?- to discuss Preparing for the First Semester.  It felt like a more important semester but not the beast that it actually became!  …

3 Communication Tips That Teachers Can Use in the New Year

December 22nd, 2020


Communication is the name of my game!  IEP teams are just that – teams.  In order to work as a team through each year, and in some cases year after …

Caring for the Caregiver: Mind, Body, and Spirit

December 15th, 2020


The second I met Kara Ryska, I knew I wanted to share her wisdom with you.  Kara is a Life Coach that specializes in helping mothers that are raising children with special needs. The mother of a child with a brain tumor …

Using Evaluation Data to Plan Specially Designed Instruction

December 8th, 2020


You’ve probably heard me say, “Data drives instruction.”  Here’s a new one for you.  “Evaluation data plans specially designed instruction.”  It …

Managing the Overwhelm with 3 Strategies

December 1st, 2020


We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the mechanics of an IEP and advocacy strategies, but we haven’t spent much time talking about parents’ and other team member’s emotions.  The ability of each team member to be …

Four Communication Tools to Facilitate Better Collaboration in IEP Teams

November 24th, 2020


Communicate communicate, communicate!  If you’ve been around here long enough, you know how much I preach communication on IEP teams!  I really think …

The Wright Way with THE Special Education Guru, Pete Wright

November 17th, 2020


Chances are you’ve read a Wrightslaw book or attended a Wrightslaw training! I’m thrilled to host Pete Wright, THE special education guru, on today’s …

Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans with Dr. Solandy Forte

November 10th, 2020


Behavior is always a hot topic in special education.  If a school struggles to support a child’s behavior, the child often struggles …

Inclusion: Teacher Certificates and Disability Category

November 3rd, 2020


“Your child has to have a teacher with a certificate that allows her to teach children with more significant needs.”  Or, “you child has ___ disability category, so you’re child belongs in ___ room.”  Ever hear that?  …

Functional Movement with Amy Martin, PT

October 27th, 2020


In today’s episode I welcome our favorite physical therapist, Amy Martin!  Amy was my son’s PT from the time he was about 3 months old until he was 9 …

Preparing for an IEP Meeting With Effective Communication

October 20th, 2020


The IEP team is supposed to collaborate to develop an effective, meaningful plan with annual goals, specially designed instruction, and uniquely …

Getting More Services Out Of An IEP

October 13th, 2020


Do you feel like your child’s IEP lacks services that would benefit your child?  Have you asked for additional services when you get to that time in …

Least Restrictive Environment/ Inclusion

September 29th, 2020


I’m no stranger to an inclusion argument, and while they’re always tricky and emotional, they’re among my favorite kind of cases.  The law is so simple, but the discussions around Least Restrictive Environment can get …

Introduction to Special Education Evaluations

September 22nd, 2020


Evaluations are a fact of life in special education. They are the gateway to the IEP. School districts are required to identify, locate, and …

Common Topics in Special Education During COVID-19

September 15th, 2020


In this episode I address the most commonly asked questions during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past six months I’ve helped my own clients and have spoken with parents and staff at many disability organizations about …

Starting the School Year on the Right Foot

September 12th, 2020


Sara Platenberg has a Masters Degree in Education with a focus in Gifted and Talented and Twice Exceptional Populations. She served the public school …

The 6Ws of the IEP Team Meeting

September 8th, 2020


IEP Meetings can be intimidating. This episode takes the stress out by bringing basic, easily laid out information on what the meetings are, who attends them, why they occur, when they occur, where they are, and how …

5 Basic Advocacy Tips

September 8th, 2020


Episode 02 delivers five basic advocacy skills that are aimed to help parents but will be applicable to anyone supporting a child in special education. They’re skills I’ve used in advocating for my own child and in …

Welcome to Special Education Advocacy with Ashley Barlow

September 1st, 2020


In today’s episode, you’ll get to know me a little more. You’ll understand how I see things as a parent, a teacher, and a self-advocate. You’ll understand my “why” and be the first to know about the roadmap for the …

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