sharie001's profile

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Member since: January 2005

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I have been married to my husband over 20 years. I am the parent of two extraordinary children. My daughter is now age 16 and in 11th grade. She is a wonderful student, who takes accelerated courses (honors, AP, etc.), and is involved in church choir, ROTC, band, acting, and more. She enjoys the Arts. She is a very talented writer. School comes easy for her. My son is now age 20, and is still finding his way. He has completed high school and is in the Army National Guard, which is where he excels (among many other areas, more particularly in the areas of Reasoning/Problem Solving skills, Physical fitness, Outdoor activities including survival skills and more). He is currently working on getting released from the Guard to go Active Army for four years or more. He thrives in this structured environment! My son is twice exceptional (he is both "Gifted" and has disabilities that affect learning). Despite having an exceptionally high IQ, school was a struggle for him, and he barely made it from one grade level to the next each year he was in school. Test were no problem for him provided they did not require a lot of writing or open ended questions, he could ace almost any test. The majority of his problems pertaining to school had to do with written assignments, organization, time management, attention, frustration, and a lack of knowledge on the part of teachers and district personnel. The district compounded his disabilities by their failure to identify his disabilities accurately, blaming him for a lack of motivation, and not understanding that his most of his behavior issues (refusing to do his written work, etc.) was a result of his disabilities going unidentified and being misidentified. I learned a lot from my son, particularly in the areas of learning disabilities, their impact on learning, and state & federal special education rules, regs, laws. Most of the knowledge I attained was through research online. I was very frustrated with my district and state's failure to accurately identify his disabilities for most of his school career (officially accurately diagnosed/identified in the middle of 10th grade), along with their failure to follow state and federal laws pertaining to evals, identification, and providing appropriate services throughout my son's school career. When I finally got my district to comply with most of the laws along with accurately identifying his disabilities/abilities my son's GPA zoomed from a .85 to a 3.0 instantly, and his standardized went from below avg/avg to way above avg from one year to the next. I felt I needed to do something constructive with all of this info I had so painstakingly attained/learned and evolved into me working for my state parent info and training center advocating for others and teaching other parents advocacy skills. My previous careers (Real Estate broker, and Residential Construction) taught me many things that helped in advocating, such as contract law, reading the fine print, interpreting, paying attention to detail, not leaving things open to interpretation, and get everything in writing. I quit working for the state parent info and training center as an advocate/iep facilitator after Katrina (I live in Southeast Louisiana) for personal reasons. I'm currently working on advocating/facilitating and giving classes/courses to parents, students, teachers, etc. on disabilities and learning privately. I feel that I can better help those who need assistance working independently, especially considering I have yet to find a private advocate anywhere in my area.

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