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Where I’m At This Weekend (And How I Keep Up With The Boy & His Staff Remotely)

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So I am at the COPAA (Council of Parent Attorney and Advocates) annual conference in Baltimore. I haven’t been to this city since I came with the Texas Democatic Delegates for Clinton’s inauguration (thanks, Tia Yoli, for putting up with me on that trip). COPAA is a national organization of attorneys. advocates, and parents that works to protect the civil rights of students with disabilities. Here you can find training for the new to experienced advocate as well as for attorneys, and mixes in between (for instance, workshops geared for those of us who work with attorneys).

I am utterly exhausted, what with school and travel that lasted all day yesterday, straight to my very first board meeting that I got to sit through (yes, I am on the board, my first term and am still learning everyone’s names!) and then of COURSE there was meeting up with old friends and coworkers at the hotel bar–old coworkers from private law firms I’ve worked with, and Disability Rights Texas, as well as advocate and attorney friends and parents I know, are all here. To bed late, then up again–this girl is BEAT.

However, I do love me some COPAA, mainly because I feel like I am (finally) around my people. Every special ed parent knows of Wright’s Law. We have used their extensive parent advocacy site, purchased their books, and attended the great Wrightslaw workshops. It was when I was in a COPAA session a few years ago–and I saw Mr. Peter Wright HIMSELF, taking notes at a COPAA session, that I knew it was the real deal and where I could learn more than other places. (And I started taking fast notes, then, too.)

Of course, I’m trying to study and brief cases for law classes in between catching sessions and talking to people. To keep up with Aidan, we’ve started using the Cozi app to keep all of Aidan’s home staff, school staff, and stepparents. This was a tough decision for me, since we have used Google Calendar for a while for him but we needed something to help keep two households in communication, as well as all of Aidan’s support staff. I did look for apps that were for people with disabilities but the best I could find (which included multiple users on various devices and ease of use) was only available for Alzheimer’s patients and not applicable.

For children with autism living in single-homes/households and no staff/multiple caregivers, there ARE a few Autism caregiver apps: My Autism Day is my favorite. Just remember,they are limited to use on one device. I needed to have an app on his devices, mine, his dad’s, his stepparents, his aides/respite providers/PAs/teachers/training supervisors and so on, so that we can all see what’s going on with him and update on info.

Although Cozi isn’t really for this purpose, it is working very well: his TA at school let us know that Aidan can’t fit his backpack into his locker, his PA let us know that he’d gotten red velvet cake at the Farmer’s Market for doing all his chores (nothing like sweets for working!), and his dad and I are able to input chores and checklists for caregivers from where we are. Kind of awesome.

So I have to get back to this great conference but am so happy knowing the kid is okay. Oh, and if someone at home could buy the boy a new composition book, that would be cool.

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