In this episode we’re doing a deep dive into the subject of advocacy, specifically, advocating for our unique learners in school. To talk us through this subject is former educator and now current special needs advocate Rich Weinfeld. Rich, and the 25 educational consultants who work with his Weinfeld Education Group, provides direct special education consultation services to families of students with special needs, as well as provides extensive parent and staff training and consults with schools about appropriate programming for students.

Before founding the Weinfeld Group, he served as the first full-time coordinator of programs for students who are simultaneously gifted and learning disabled for Montgomery County in Maryland. Rich is also the expert of several books on the topic, including School Success for Kids with High Functioning Autism, Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties: Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential; Helping Boys Succeed in School; School Success for Student’s with Asperger’s Syndrome; and Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book.  

When I knew Rich was coming onto the show, I reached out on the TiLT Parenting Facebook page and asked for questions you had about advocating for your children in school. Thank you to the many of you who sent in great questions—Rich was generous with his time and we got through just about all of them.

 

About Rich: Richard Weinfeld directs Weinfeld Education Group, LLC, a group of over 25 educational consultants, located in Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. In addition to directing the work of the company, Rich provides direct special education consultation services to families of students with special needs, as well as provides extensive parent and staff training and consults with schools about appropriate programming for students.

Rich has long been an advocate for quality educational programs for all students. Twenty-six years of his thirty-year career, with Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools, were spent in a variety of leadership roles in special education. He served as Montgomery County’s first full-time coordinator of programs for students who are simultaneously gifted and learning disabled. Rich’s books include, School Success for Kids with High Functioning Autism, Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties: Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential; Helping Boys Succeed in School; School Success for Student’s with Asperger’s Syndrome; and Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book.  

Rich presents at numerous national conferences. He has instructed at Johns Hopkins University, served on the Maryland State Department of Education’s Gifted Advisory Committee, and served on the board of directors for the Association for Educators of Gifted Underachieving Student (AEGUS). He also serves on the editorial advisory board for CHADD’s Attention magazine.

 

 

The Weinfeld Group is the founder of the Diamonds in the Rough Conferenc, a unique event at which parents, advocates, and professionals learn, connect, and share, with the goal of empowering children and ultimately launching them to becoming independent adults. This year’s conference theme is Parenting Children with Special Needs: Preparing to Launch at Every Age. I’m also happy to share that I’m one of the keynote speakers for the event.

The two-day conference consists of a half-day continuing education Workshop on Friday, April 12th and full day conference on Saturday, April 13th, and is being held in Rockville, MD, just outside of Washington DC.

To learn more and register, click here. I would love to see you there.

 

THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:

  • What special needs advocate does and when should a parent consider working with one
  • Best practices in educating schools about a child’s unique needs and reframing their perception of challenges as stemming from neurodifferences rather than being “behavioral”
  • How parents can positively manage relationships with educators and school administrators while still pushing for the support and accommodations our child needs
  • Under what type of circumstances it might be appropriate to bring in legal representation, and how to do this in a way that doesn’t burn bridges
  • Strategies for dealing with reward systems and other classroom tools that inadvertently penalized differently wired students
  • How to suggest professional development opportunities for school staff to deepen their understanding of unique learners
  • Advice for getting support when a child’s neurodifferences are manifesting in negative behavior or social challenges as opposed to poor academic performance

 

RESOURCES MENTIONED: 

 

 

 

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