ASK - Advocates for Special Kids
"Parents helping parents to understand special education"

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Advocates for Special Kids - ASK
January 2002 News Brief
Volume 1, Issue 2

"For families with children receiving special education in Manhattan Beach & the South Bay"

 "ASK Launches Website!!"

Since its inception almost five years ago, Advocates for Special Kids has resolved to bring information and assistance to parents, teachers and the community regarding the needs of children with disabilities. With the start of the New Year 2002, it seems timely that we are introducing a new resource that we hope will put information and ideas at your fingertips. It is with great pleasure that we announce the launching of our new website at:

As our welcome page makes clear, ASKís website is dedicated to special education issues and advocacy for children with special needs. There is much that we as parents, teachers and friends can do to help make the world a better place for children with special needs. All that we learn and do on behalf of children with special needs not only benefits each individual child, it benefits that childís classmates, their school and their community. The result? Everyone wins!

We hope you will take the time to browse the website! Our goal is to provide a place for parents, friends, school staff and concerned citizens to find information about disabilities and about navigating the sometimes treacherous waters of special education. We hope this website will educate our community about tolerance and acceptance, and the fundamental principle that we are more alike than we are different. We want our visitors to see this website as a resource that they can come back to again and again for helpful information, positive direction, and useful educational interventions that work not just for those with disabilities, but for the differently abled and for the vast majority of children.

As you will see, weíve only just begun! Although our website is in its infancy, it is healthy and growing! There are many topics, articles and links yet to come! If you know of a really fabulous link that you think would be helpful to others, if you have a question or comment about anything on the site, or if you just want to tell us how great you think it looks, click on "Contact us."

We hope you will tell your family, your friends, your childís teacher about Help us spread the word!

- Deborah Blair Porter - Secretary/Editor

"Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society. Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities."

Congressional Findings and Purpose "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" [IDEA] 1997

Advocates for Special Kids - Parents Networking Together

Advocates for Special Kids (ASK) was formed in May 1997 by Manhattan Beach parents whose children received special education services in the district. These parents had become aware of the need to understand all placement options that were supposed to be available to their children, as well as services to support their children in their least restrictive environment [LRE] pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Since then, many more families have become involved with ASK and benefit from the support and education they gain from attending our regularly scheduled meetings. These meetings provide information about services within the district, resources in the community, upcoming trainings and workshops, as well as the most current updates on special education law and pending legislation affecting their childís education.

ASK Meetings 2001-2002 School Year

ASK meetings are 7 PM the last Monday of each month. Our schedule this year is:

September 24, 2001
October 29, 2001
November 26, 2001
No December Meeting
January 28, 2002
February 25, 2002
March 25, 2002
April 29, 2002
May 20, 2002
June 24, 2002

Pacific Christian Center, 1403 Pacific Ave, M.B.

ASK E Group

ASK recently established an E-group through Yahoo! which allows subscribers to communicate with other ASK members in an effective, efficient manner.



To join this e-mail group contact the moderator [Marilyn Barraza] by emailing She will let you know how to get started.

ASKís Board of Directors & Advisory Board consists of the following individuals who meet monthly to plan ASKís activities:

Board: Marilyn Barraza [President], Dona Wright [Vice-President], Deborah Blair Porter [Secretary], Karen Mohan [Treasurer], Eunice Kramer, Alicia Delgado.

Advisory Board: Shari Chang, Becky Grossman, Mary Anne Fontana, Rebecca Schulman, Susan Viker, Alyse Zwickel.

ASK Board Mtgs. 2001-2002 School Year

Scheduled for the first Thursday of each month, upcoming meetings are as follows:

October 4, 2001
November 1, 2001
December 6, 2001
January 10, 2002
February 7, 2002
March 7, 2002
April 4, 2002
May 2, 2002
June 6, 2002

Location subject to change.

Call Marilyn Barraza 

ASKís Mission is to promote the principle that ALL CHILDREN can learn together; the acceptance of diversity; family awareness of rights and options for receiving special education services for their child; children being taught in their least restrictive environment [LRE]; district collaboration and community awareness of the importance of educating all students together to reach their individual potential. ASK supports family choice and advocates for the full continuum of special education services for ALL CHILDREN.


Upcoming Events! Items of Interest!

MBUSD School Board Meeting Agenda On ASK Website

MBUSDís School Board typically meets the first and third Wednesday of each month in Manhattan Beachís City Council chambers [ 6:30 PM, time subject to change]. Open to the public, these meetings provide an opportunity for parents and citizens to provide their input regarding district programs, services, policies and procedures. ASK members regularly attend and participate in these meetings to ensure the Board considers the needs and perspective of our children with special needs. Join our efforts!

For your information and review, school board agendas will be posted on ASKís website prior to each meeting. Look for the PDF Agenda link on the bottom left corner of ASKís Welcome/Home Page. If you canít attend meetings, they are usually carried live on Adelphia Channel 8. Meetings through the end of the school year are: February 2, February 20; March 6, March 20; April 17; May 1, May 15; June 5, June 19, 2002.

March 14, 15, 16, 2002 - The Sensory System Connection to Dyslexia-Hyperlexia-Autism

Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes: 10th Annual Internatl. Conference featuring workshops to develop language and literacy processing or research sessions on brain processing functions. Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, CA. For registration information, call (800) 233-1819 X112.

March 15, 16, 17, 2002 - Journey to Solutions 2002

10th Annual Autism Society of Los Angeles Conference with Keynote Speakers Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D. [03/15/02], "Tito" Mukhopadhyay [03/16/02], Reed Martin, J.D. [03/17/02] Pasadena Convention Center & Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green Street, Pasadena, CA. Registration before 3/1 ranges from $50 for one day to $220 for three days. Registration available on-line at

March 20, 2002 - SELPA Meeting on Accommodations and Modifications

Southwest SELPA Community Advisory Committee Meeting will have a presentation on accommodations and modifications that support learning, presented by Rick Clemens, M.A. Washington School Cafeteria, 1100 Lillienthal Lane, Redondo Beach. (310) 921-2901 for info.

SELPA Drop In Support Group

Christy Cole of Southwest SELPA will facilitate a drop in support group Tuesday evenings, 6:30-7:30 PM, Launch/Arnold Elementary School, 4100 W. 227th Street, Torrance. Dates: January 22, February 5, February 19, March 5. Child care is available at no charge, but you must RSVP in advance (310) 921-2252.

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders [ C.H.A.D.D.]

Gain insight from speakers and share with others experiencing similar challenges. Donation of $3.00 from non-C.H.A.D.D. members. Little Company of Mary Hospital, Del E. Webb Center for Health Education. Call (310) 326-2322 for dates and information.


Upcoming ASK Meetings - January 2002 through June 2002
[All ASK Meetings are at the Pacific Christian Center, 1403 Pacific Avenue, Manhattan Beach.]

01/28/02 - 7 PM: ASK Meeting: Special Education, IEPís and the Law: Speaker: Steven Wyner, Esq. A special education and civil rights lawyer, Mr. Wyner will discuss special ed and IEPís. He will not provide legal advice or discuss individual cases, but will answer general interest questions regarding special ed.

02/25/02 - 7 PM: ASK Meeting: ASK Networking, Resources and Discussion: Join us in an old-fashioned ASK tradition of support, education and ASK action.

03/25/02 - 7 PM: ASK Meeting: ADHD/ADD and Medications: Speakers: Drs. Harjani and Green will discuss Attention Deficit and the use of medications and other interventions.

04/29/02 - 7 PM: ASK Meeting: Inclusion Research: Speaker: Elinor Ochs, U.C.L.A. Prof. of Anthropology and Applied Linguistics, winner of a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, will discuss "Inclusion as Social Practice: Views of Children with Autism," research conducted here in Manhattan Beach and throughout CA

05/27/02 - 7 PM: ASK Meeting: Transition: Grade to Grade; School to School: An ASK organized meeting to help our children prepare for their transition to new sites, grades and placements.

ASK is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping parents with issues related to special education. To contact ASK, call Marilyn Barraza, Dona Wright or Deborah Blair Porter. ASK does not accept payment for assistance provided to families, rather raises money in furtherance of our efforts through fundraising and accepting donations. We will also be accepting sponsorships of our newsletter, which entails covering the typical costs associated with printing and mailing the newsletter. Your sponsorship will be gratefully acknowledged on the newsletter cover. If you wish to donate toASK or sponsor an issue, please contact Marilyn, Dona or Deborah or speak to an ASK Board member.

Advocates for Special Kids - January 2002, Volume 1, Issue 2
[Sponsored by the William and Janet Hodgman Family]

Advocates for Special Kids
c/o 3109 Walnut Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266


"Families and friends of children receiving special
education in Manhattan Beach & the South Bay"


"Tell me, I will forget.
Show me, I may remember.
Involve me, and I will understand."

- Chinese Proverb


Copyright © 2001  ASK 
All rights reserved.
Revised: January 25, 2002

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