Have Cynthia Speak At Your Event

I’m passionate about empowering parents!

Check out my topics below to see if there’s something
you or your group would like to learn more about.

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Frequently Asked

How long are the talks?
The talks are between 45 -90 min long depending on the size of the group, number of anticipated questions, etc.
I don't see a topic I need.
Email me.  I’ve developed some of these talk as the result of people’s requests over the years.
How much do you charge?
It depends on the group.  I speak to non-profit and support groups for free.

Special Ed Advocacy Topics

Mom as Ninja attending a meeting at school

Ninja Tactics for ARD Meetings

ARD meetings are tough in the post-Co-Vid world.  You’re dealing with fewer services, less money, new or untrained teachers, new or untrained administrators who have no idea what their responsibilities are or what the law is.  This talk will give you an edge when you’re outnumbered at the ARD table.

Developing SMART IEP Goals

IEP Goals (Individual Education Plan) are the meat of a child’s IEP.  A good goal should be

  • Specific,
  • Measurable,
  • Action word Oriented,
  • Relevant, and
  • Time Limited.

In more than 15 years of advocating in special ed, I have yet to see a set of goals presented by the school that met this criteria.   The talk goes over how to spot poorly worded goals and transform them into SMART ones.

Using the Autism Supplement to Get More Services

The Autism Supplement is a list of 11 services that must be considered in the IEP for every Texas student receiving special ed services under the eligibility of autism.  Yet, most parents have no idea what it is or how to use it  because it’s not even mentioned at ARD meetings or the LSSP has already filled it out with a boiler plate statement that does not reflect the individual child’s needs at all.  Learn how to use the Autism Supplement as it was intended to be used from someone who helped write it as one of 19 appointed family committee members.

Effectively Supporting Parents at ARD Meetings: for providers

This talk trains private SLPs, OTs, PTs, BCBAs, psychologists, or social workers who support families by attending ARD meetings with them.  There are many tips and strategies that you can use to effectively support your family better.  You must understand the parent’s rights at the meeting, how the meeting flows, how to address the politics at the meeting, and have strategies that ensure the parents concerns are properly documented and addressed.
An elephant with different aspects of transition pasted over it.

Eating the Elephant of Transition One Bite at a Time

Transitioning from public school to adult life and services is a big process.  From 20 years of experience, I will take you through the 5 core areas of transition:

  • Daily Living (Including Housing)
  • Medical Transition
  • Education and Training Post High School
  • Financial and Legal Considerations
  • Building a Safe Social Network

Understanding Evaluations

The FIE, full individual evaluation, is the foundation of the IEP .  However, after it is presented, school staff and parents rarely refer to it again when they are developing the PLAAFP (present levels of functional performance) or the goals.   The presentation explains this process in more detail and trains parents how to plot their child’s scores on a bell curve.

Legislative & General Advocacy Topics

Effectively Telling Your Story

The key to creating positive social change is people powerfully telling their story .  Unfortunately, most people don’t understand how to tell their story and either

  • bore their audience with irrelevant details or too much history
  • run out of time
  • speak their written testimony
  • forget to submit written data to back up their story.

I’ve coached over a hundred people to testify effectively for legislature, school district and state agency hearings.  Come learn what works.  As one experienced advocate told me, “The person who tells the last, best story wins.”

There Outta Be a Law: Overview to How to Get a Law Passed in Texas

The Texas legislative process was designed to be an obstacle course that kills bills.  If you want your idea to become a law at the end of the 6 month session, then there are somethings you need to know before you start the process.  Come learn from a successful advocate about what it takes to help your bill go from a great idea to the governor’s desk and signed into law.

Winning Your Appeal

Parents of kids with special needs have to deal with denials in almost every system in which they participate:

  • insurance
  • special education
  • state social services
  • Social Security

At some point, you or your child will be denied a request for services.  Every denial can be appealed.  This talk covers how to put together a successful appeal that gets you and your child the resources they need.

Autism Topics

Autism Risk Management

A person with a developmental disability is 7 times more likely to have an encounter with law enforcement than anyone else. Tragic incidents still happen annually when untrained law enforcement attempts to engage a person with a developmental disability.  This talk was used to train the 600+ officers of the Crisis Intervention Team Division for the Houston Police Department as well as the Juvenile Justice Division of Harris County.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Autism

Autism is now being diagnosed in 1 out of every 56 people.  There’s a saying in the autism community, “If you’ve seen one person with autism, you’ve seen one person with autism.”  This talk will cover the variety of the spectrum, cover challenges that families deal with daily, and provide the key questions you need to ask caregivers when interacting with a new individual with autism.

Dietary Interventions for Autism

The first blinded diet study has been published, and the results are impressive:

  • 9 point IQ gain in 12 months
  • 18 months of developmental age gain
  • improvement in a variety of digestive issues
  • improvement in general health issues
  • improvement in behavior.

This talk covers why “Food matters for autism.”

Wellness Topics

Caring For Caregiver

Research shows that moms who care for a person with developmental disabilities exhibit as many of the biological markers for stress as combat soldiers.  This talk reviews the potential effects of stress and presents strategies for effectively transforming it.

10 Ways to Transform Stress At Work

Stress causes all disease.  Are you stressed at work?  This talk presents 10 effective tips for transforming stress to ‘Aaaahh’ from my training as both a yoga & a qi gong instructor.
woman practicing qi gong

Nei Gong As a Process for Personal Transformation

Nei (pronounced Nay) Gong is a powerful process to prepare your body and mind for the more intense spiritual work of alchemy.  This talk gives an overview of the Daoist philosophy behind nei gong and the practices that form its foundation.

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