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

Home | FAQ's | Documents | Links | Contact Us


Advocates for Special Kids - ASK 
September 2001 Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 1

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

"Back to School Edition"

Can you believe itís that time of year? Not only do we have to worry about school clothes, making lunches on a daily basis and [gasp!] HOMEWORK, but as parents of children with special needs, weíre entering that inevitable cycle of countless sessions of physical/occupational therapy, DIS counseling, speech and language, and too many IEPís to fit into our already too busy schedules! Here to try and make you feel like youíre not the only one, is our inaugural "first edition" of what we hope will be a regular, quarterly ASK newsletter with monthly meeting notices in between. [Hope does spring eternal, right?]

This issue is filled with lots of information, not only about ASK and every single meeting we could possibly schedule in a yearís time, but a calendar of upcoming events, a full page of useful contact information regarding our elected representatives, and some items of interest, as well as ways for you to take action and be involved.

We hope you have the time to read this and [hopefully!] future issues. We want to use this newsletter to bring our community, and by that we mean ALL our community, closer together. There are plenty of ways you can be involved with ASK and its efforts toward building a more inclusive educational system and community, including our Snapple booth at the Hometown Fair on October 6th and 7th. [Itís FUN! It really is!] We also commit to bringing you about as much education and enlightenment as any parent could possibly stand! If you have questions or comments [please donít ask me to be more concise, as Iíve tried and I simply CANíT!!], weíd love to hear from you!

- Deborah Blair Porter - Secretary/Editor

Hometown Fair - Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7, 2001
ASK Snapple Booth - Help ASK Raise Money and Awareness!

*   *   Volunteer! Volunteer! Volunteer!   *   *

We need YOU at our Hometown Fair booth! We need donations of $$$$ and Snapple!
We need volunteers and would like two volunteers who each can take responsibility for Saturday or Sunday and help coordinate shifts!
We need help with delivering inventory! We need ice chests! We need chairs!
We need able-bodied parents and kids who want to practice making change!!

Booth shifts both days are 9:30-12:00, 11:30-2:00, 1:30-4:00 and 3:30-6:00

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 at (310) 545-5855

*     *     *  

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.



Items of Interest! Items for Action!

School Board Elections set for November 6th in Manhattan Beach

Candidates for MBUSD school board include incumbents Peter Alfvin, Mary Rogers and Lynette Campbell and new candidates Craig Brown, Joseph Loverich and John Cross. As a 501(c)(3) organization, ASK cannot endorse or campaign for any particular candidate. However, we will provide all candidates with a package of information, including the "Summary and Recommendations" we submitted to MBUSD in 12/99, so that our concerns will be considered. ASK encourages parents to become informed, to participate in candidates forums and to ask the important questions: "What have you done to ensure an equitable education for special ed children?" and "What do you plan to do?" Donít forget to VOTE November 6th!

MBUSD School Board Meeting Schedule

MBUSD School Board typically meets at 6:30 PM the first and third Wednesday of each month in Manhattan Beachís City Council chambers [time subject to change]. Open to the public, these meetings include opportunities for parents and citizens to express their opinions 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. If you canít attend, meetings are carried live on Channel 8 (Adelphia). The first meeting of the school year was September 5. Meetings through the end of the calendar year are: 09/19/01, 10/03/01, 10/17/01, 11/07/01, 12/05/01. Join us!!

ASK Co-Sponsors TASH Conference - November 14-17, 2001 
 Anaheim Convention Center

ASK Manhattan Beach is a proud co-sponsor of the upcoming TASH Conference "Imaging the Future," November 14-17, 2001 at the Marriott Anaheim and Anaheim Convention Center. [TASH originally stood for The Association for the Severely Handicapped. The name was changed in 1983 to The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, but the acronym TASH is still used]. Featuring TASH Tech Workshops (in-depth informational sessions), as well as Full Day Institutes, the conference will also feature breakout sessions, exhibits and roundtable luncheon discussions. A copy of the Conference Registration form is reproduced at page 5 of this newsletter. For more information about TASH, visit their website at

Congressional Caucus on Autism

On February 13, 2001, U.S. Reps Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Christopher Smith (R-NJ) announced the formation of the Congressional Caucus on Autism, as well as the Coalition for Autism Research and Education (C.A.R.E.). For the first time in 50 years, autism is being recognized as a serious public health concern in need of a national response. Reps. Doyle and Smith first learned about autism through families whose children had autism. Through the years they have recognized the growing prevalence of autism nationwide and formed the Caucus, which any member of Congress can join. Jane Harman is the 36th Congressional Districtís representative, but to our knowledge, currently is not a Caucus member. California has documented one of the highest increases in autism in the nation. ASK encourages families to contact Congresswoman Harman and let her know how important it is for her to join the Congressional Caucus on Autism. Contact information for Congresswoman Harman, as well as other elected officials, is included as an insert to this newsletter.

Calendar of Upcoming Events

09/24/01 - 7 PM: ASK Meeting: Lisa Brownfield [CARD] re: applied behavioral analysis [ABA], discrete trial training [DTT]; Sharon Lowery [SmartStart] re: Floortime and Greenspan. Pacific Christian Center, 1403 Pacific Avenue, Manhattan Beach.

10/12-14/01 - HELP Groupís Fifth Annual Symposium re: Learning Disabilities, High-Functioning Autism, Aspergerís Syndrome. Culver City/UCLA. Contact Deborah Porter or Dona Wright for a copy of the registration application.

10/29/01 - 7 PM: ASK Meeting: Lynn Smithey [MBUSD] will discuss Curriculum Modification as it relates to Issues of Literacy. Pacific Christian Center.

11/14 - 17/01 - TASH Conference, Marriott Anaheim/Anaheim Convention Center. See Registration form in this newsletter. For info see

11/26/01 - 7PM: ASK Meeting: Dr. Bill Frea [Autism Spectrum Therapies] re: behavioral assessment, behavior plans and how to make sure itís reflected in your childís IEP. Pacific Christian Center.

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. If you would like to donate to ASK, please contact Marilyn, Dona or Deborah or speak to any ASK Board member. 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. To sponsor an issue, please contact Marilyn or Deborah.

Advocates for Special Kids - September 2001, Volume 1, Issue 1
[Sponsored by John and Deborah Blair Porter and Family]

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

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


Inclusion is not JUST about education!
It's about our COMMUNITY!


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

FAQ's | Documents | Links | Contact Us

This site is best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer

 To report problems with this site please e-mail  Webmaster