Information & Resources

Family Advocacy and Parent Education Program

The Howard County Autism Society (HCAS) has been awarded a Community Service Partnership (CSP) grant by the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services to provide special education advocacy and familial support for students with special education needs. Key services include one-to-one assistance and information on special education issues; one-to-one assistance on special education law and how it applies to personal circumstances; workshops and seminars on special education topics of interest: and a web-based special education news center.

Efforts through this grant have been utilized to expand our support into underserved populations including those with limited English proficiency (through translation of material into Spanish, Korean and Chinese (underway) and those with personal and home challenges through the contracting of a social worker to provide additional resources and advocacy.

Special Education Advocacy

HCAS is available to answer questions, offer support, and provide information and guidance related to special education and school system resources, including Individualized Education Program (IEP) and 504-related services.  Families can email info@howard-autism.org or call 410-290-3466.  Appointments can be made by request.  After the initial phone in-take through HCAS, if deemed appropriate and necessary, HCAS may direct families to a special education attorney or advocate; HCAS will subsidize 45 minutes of consultative services.  HCAS has contracted with Disability Rights Maryland (DRM), formerly Maryland Disability Law Center, to provide families with specialized guidance pertaining to special education law.  The goal is to educate families on how special education and disability law may apply to their unique situation.

HCAS Education  and Advocacy Committee

This committee works to enhance Howard County communities and make them more inclusive of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families. The committee strives to protect the rights of, and secure resources and services for, people with autism and their families through strategic partnerships and through advocacy efforts. Members work on areas of ongoing interest with regard to the Howard County Public School System, focusing on issues of concern, meeting with HCPSS officials, serving on HCPSS committees and workgroups, providing public testimony to both the Board of Education and County Council on issues of policy and funding.  Interested in joining? Contact Roger Thibaudeau, Roger.Thibaudeau@jhuapl.edu.

Special Education Resources

Our Special Education Resources provides parents, educators, therapists, and others with essential resources for understanding, accessing, and succeeding in the world of special education. The information provided on the website is meant to encourage parent advocacy and promote collaboration between home and school. It is intended to educate parents on the rights guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004). And, most importantly, it is available to assist parents in finding key special education staff at the county and state levels. Sections include:

  • Accommodations & Modifications
  • ADD / ADHD / Learning Disabilities
  • Autism Resources
  • Behavior & Discipline Issues
  • Common Core Standards
  • HCPSS Dept. of Special Education & Student Services
  • High Stakes Testing
  • IEP / IFSP / 504 Basics
  • Local Support & Advocacy Group Events & Workshop Videos
  • Mediation & Due Process
  • Parent to Parent Tips
  • Procedural Safeguards
  • School 411
  • Spanish & Korean Language Resources
  • Special Education Services
  • Transitions

Special Education Workshops & Seminars

HCAS offers a series of workshops and seminars to enhance parent education of special education issues.  See the HCAS calendar for upcoming workshops and seminars.  Past workshop topics include:

  • Maryland Disability Law Center (now Disability Rights Maryland) Introduction to Service by Leslie Margolis
  • Special Education Law I – Student Discipline, Restraint, and Seclusion: What’s Legal, What’s Not, and
  • What’s A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) Got to Do with it? Presented by DRM
  • Vocational Planning by Susan Howarth: Identify individual strengths and challenges to use as a foundation for vocational planning
  • Special Education Support for Spanish Speaking Families
  • Parent Burn Out – David Gold, psychologist
  • ASD and Managing Aggression by Steven E. Lindauer, Ph.D, Director, Pediatric Developmental Disabilities Clinic, Kennedy Krieger Institute
  • IEP Preparation – Special Education Advocates on How to Prepare in Advance for an Annual IEP Meeting
  • Special Education Law II – Assessments Workshop: Access to Curriculum, IEP Content, MSAs/HSAs and Placements Presented by MDLC
  • Understanding DSM-V, ASD, ADHD, and Language Challenges by Linda E. Spencer, Ph.D. and Vince Cullota, Ph.D., ABN. A review of the intermingling of ASD, ADHD and language challenges and how the DSM-V addresses these overlapping issues
  • Transition – Benefits Discussion (SSI, SSDI)
  • “Autism and Problem Behaviors: Addressing Concerns in School and Home Settings,” by Tom Caffrey, M.Ed., BCBA (March 2014)
  • “Improving Programming from Toddlers to Teens with Autism – Using ABA and VBA by Mary Lynch Barbera, Ph.D., RN, BCBA (April 2015)

Contact information for the Family Advocacy and Parent Education Program

Email: AskUsSpecialEdQuestions@Howard-Autism.org
Phone: 410-290-3466