(For more general services, such as presenting, please scroll down to the bottom of the page)
School Consulting for Year 2018-2019
Dear Superintendents, Special Education Directors, and/or Pupil Services Directors,
After 14 years of autism/Asperger school consulting (mostly in NYC), I recently decided to share some controversial truths about schools in one of the articles I had published this past April. Writing in Exceptional Parent magazine I discussed the underused concept of peer support in schools for students diagnosed with autism, or for that matter, any non-apparent disability. “Sure,” you might think, “we always try to match up, for instance, African-American staff with African-American kids, because we know that a child from any marginalized community will better relate to a grown-up with a similar background and experiences.”
Well, if you or your Special Education/Pupil Services Director know this, then why don’t you apply this same principle to your students with non-apparent disabilities? And with an ever-increasing prevalence level, can you afford not to?
As I write you to seek (ideally, a 90-day) contract for school year 2018-2019, I hope that you’ll also peruse the article, as it outlines many of the traps that administrators fall into with their thinking, and their fears, as they unwillingly prevent the anxiety-reducing relief of shared experience from enriching their students’ lives. After 28 years of living in the City, I recently spent the last four years seeing the sad, yet illuminating difference in Wisconsin, I was amazed at how work that we began in New York in 2004 still has yet to reach middle America.
Some of you may say that you already have autism consulting lined up. In some cases, your service might be adequate. But (taking in my self-interest) I’m skeptical. Not only do you probably not have peer support embedded in your consulting, in other cases you could be one of those districts that have relationships with hock shop, outside “educational” agencies that you feel tied to by prior administrations (you know the ones…they pay their autism “experts” very little, with no benefits or guaranteed hours, and yet they charge your schools $1200 a day in addition to their annual dues…). Well, imagine your district enjoying not only the absence of such ineffective and financially-draining arrangements, but also…emotionally-happier, better-regulated kids. Imagine the money saved—in teacher turnover, out of district placements, or the prevention of lawsuits. And finally, imagine the happy parents of behaviorally-challenged kids. As elitist as this might sound (though I hope it’s more my diagnostic bluntness), parents are always grateful when someone well-known is brought in.
If you’re new to me, then (in a nutshell)…I’m a fairly public professional who:
• is the author of two—soon to be three—(more than) well-praised books in the autism/Asperger world
• had over 30 entries in a four-year run with my “Autism Without Fear” column in the Huffington Post
• has made well over 150 keynotes and trainings; which this year will include Malaysia, Australia, Argentina, and Canada
• in 2003 founded, and for ten years ran the largest membership organization in the world of adults on the spectrum (GRASP)
• served for three years as the founding Executive Director of ASTEP (now, “Integrate”), which places young spectrum college grads with Fortune 1000 companies that are located primarily in New York City
• reviews for the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (JADD)
• sits on the Board of NEXT for Autism (the org that benefits from Comedy Central’s “Night of Too Many Stars”), is a Special Advisor to the Board of the Autism Society of Wisconsin, and sits on several Advisory Boards
• was one of two people on the spectrum to testify before the House’s first-ever congressional hearings on autism (in 2012)
• has found that most parents and staff really like it when their autism consultant has the diagnosis himself
And what exactly would I do in your school? Well, with the exception of providing diagnostic services, I think I’ve done pretty much everything one can do. But in short, I have…
• run weekly or monthly support groups for spectrum students (that I create based on my work in the nyc schools and GRASP)
• run teacher support groups
• set up and run those after-school or evening parent support networks, as well as groups
• met weekly with individual students in a peer mentoring (counseling) capacity
• taken groups of more challenged kids out into the community
• taught independent living skills to those more-challenged kids
• helped plan for the needs of self-contained classrooms
• conducted those well-over 150 trainings and presentations in a variety of subjects; for a variety of settings, and amidst a variety of schools’ administrative and staff ranks
• conducted assessments (classrooms and students)
• successfully intervened in disputes between parents and schools (via both school meetings and at-home visits)
• helped with building-wide, staff morale repair jobs in economically-challenged districts (Often this work had nothing to do with autism, but I was happy to show teachers that I was on their side by doing whatever I could to fix schedules, assignments etc. Let’s face it, many inclusion schools are underfunded, often to disastrous levels)
• utilized art therapy in my one-on-one sessions
• helped create a summer program for New York City schools in 2005 that still exists today
• currently am helping to design a “teach-the-teachers” curriculum for making NYC students with (all) disabilities better classroom leaders.
And if you’re in a pinch, I can help with theatre, music, and I have even coached a ton of travel baseball in NY.
Please let me know if you would like contact info for any of my prior supervisors in Milwaukee, New York City, or the Fort Berthold Reservation (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Rikara) in North Dakota. I focus mostly on the often-neglected mental health of kids on the spectrum in (supposedly) inclusive settings; conducting better quality supports for students in groups and as individuals, or in classroom assessments that turn teachers into more effective communicators. And with more challenged kids I both help to explain behaviors to the school community, and I do my best to show staff the importance of getting more and more out into the greater community.
Finally, should you wish to know more, below my signature you can either click on the links to my author/presenting website.
And if you’d like to schedule a talk, please write me with dates and times that work for you. Or, just feel free to call me on my cell at 646.318.7072. I’m looking for a new home base that will bring some lucky U.S. school district a lot of positive press, feedback, karma, and results.
In thanks for your consideration,
Michael John Carley
LinkedIn: Michael John Carley
Speaking and More General Services
In addition to his work as an author, Executive Director, School Consultant and Spokesperson, Michael John Carley has consulted for foundations, journalists, television producers, playwrights, politicians, actors, law firms, and (through ASTEP) the D&I personnel and HR departments of Fortune 500 companies.
He speaks mostly on the subjects of "Old Ways of Looking at the Spectrum vs. New Ways...," Transitioning, Disclosure, Sexuality, and a broad array of Employment issues; and he occasionally serves as a weekly, one-on-one peer mentor for special individuals. To inquire about any of these services, please use the contact form.