We haven’t written since 2018 when we started this blog. The excitement of life with 5 kids has been plenty to keep us busy! 🤪
We started writing here shortly after our son’s official diagnosis. I wrote this letter to our family and friends. Ashley wrote this gripping article about her experience wrestling with the reality of our son’s disability. We wrote a few other articles at the time that you can find in the archives here on the blog. We may not say everything exactly the same way that we said it then (that was 5 years ago!), but those articles capture where our hearts and minds were at the time.
As you can imagine, a lot has happened over the last 5 years. The COVID-19 pandemic was crazy for everyone. But nothing has impacted our lives over recent years as much as the events of October-December 2021. You can read the local newspaper article detailing our experience by clicking here.
I couldn’t have imagined at the time that what happened to our son would launch me into the world of special education advocacy both for our son and for other students in our county who receive special education services. After meeting resistance to my initial appeals (see this video and this video), I was able to get our school division to change its policy on restraint and seclusion to bring it into compliance with the Virginia code and protect students in Spotsylvania from harmful restraint and seclusion practices (see this video and this news story). Since then, I have continued to advocate for the education of my own son along with the education of others through individual conversations, participation in IEP meetings, and attendance and participation at the meetings of our local Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC).
When it comes to advocacy for my own son, the motivation is obvious. He’s my son. I want him to receive the best education possible so that he can learn everything he needs to know to reach his maximum potential.
When it comes to my advocacy for others, I am motivated first and foremost by my firm belief, based on the clear teaching of Scripture, that every human being is made in the image of God and has inherent dignity and worth. I have also seen firsthand how our educational system often fails students with disabilities. The laws we have in this country protecting students with disabilities only work when the people serving on IEP teams know the law and are committed to following it with fidelity.
I believe that most teachers and school staff who work with students with disabilities want to do the right thing. They want to provide their students with the Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to which they are entitled by law. They want to help the students they serve succeed. But there are numerous factors which make that difficult. Limited resources. Overcrowded classrooms. Insufficient education, training, and experience. And yes, from time to time there are bad actors.
Parents have a lot going on. It’s not possible for every parent of a child with a disability to become an expert on special education law. How could we EVER learn all the acronyms!?!?
That’s where I believe that I can help. I have devoted significant time and resources over the last year to learning as much as I can about special education and the legal rights of students with disabilities. I want to use the knowledge I have gained and continue to gain to help other families who are facing challenges when it comes to getting their student the education they need and deserve.
I am not an attorney. Nor am I a special education teacher. But I have had success advocating for the educational needs of my son and others. I have done a lot of reading and study regarding special education law. I have done some special education advocacy training and am in the process of doing more. Perhaps most importantly, when I don’t know the answer, I’ve learned where to find the answer I need.
So, I am announcing the soft launch of Blosser Education Advocacy. Since there are special education laws and regulations that vary by state, my focus will be special education advocacy in Virginia. I am open to advocacy work throughout Virginia as long as you understand that I can only be available for in-person meetings in Spotsylvania or perhaps surrounding counties. Because my availability is limited, my caseload will also be limited. I am currently open to doing some pro bono work as I gain more experience. However, I do expect my availability for pro bono work to become more limited as time goes on and my caseload grows.
If you have a child with an IEP and are looking for advocacy help with your particular situation, please contact me by sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to have more details and information to share in the days ahead.