Dear Graduating Professional – By Wendy Eyrich

Dear Graduating Professional,

Congratulations on your choice to enter the exceptional education field. What an enormous responsibility you’ve taken upon yourself. My guess is that many of you have been impacted by disability in your life in some way, whether through a family member, friend, etc.

The following is some advice from me, a seasoned parent.

1) Remember that parents know their child best. Most of the time a parent is your best ally. Keep in mind that you’re a team and both have the child’s best interests at heart. Develop a good working relationship with parents when possible and life is easier for everyone.

2) Believe in these children. Often times when your expectations of them are high they’ll rise to the occasion.

3) Remember:

Education is Not One-Size-Fits-All – By: Cynthia Parker


Every parent wants what’s best for their child.  We go to great lengths to make sure our kid has access to a great education provided by qualified teachers.  However, because every child is unique, our paths towards this goal may differ.

Our son was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and a half.  Around that time, he began speech, occupational, and developmental therapies.  Although he was getting all of these services, his therapists were unable to adequately judge his comprehension levels due to his severe speech delay.  We simply didn’t know what he knew because he couldn’t tell us.

Because of our son’s delays and diagnosis, he was thrust into the public school system much earlier than other children.  At the age of 3, public schools are required to evaluate children with suspected delays and disabilities to ascertain whether these delays/disabilities will have an impact on their education.  If this is true for your child, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is created and your child will begin therapy and/or specialized instruction through the school system if you so choose.  

This was our route and our public school system was in Hamilton County, Tennessee.  We had heard horror stories about