(For more general services, such as presenting, please scroll down to the bottom of the page)
School Consulting for Year 2018-2019
You KNOW your district needs help…Autism Consulting for School Year 2018-2019
Click here for a downloadable 1-page flyer
Dear Superintendent, Special Education and/or Pupil Services Director,
Please forgive the “LinkedIn request followed by near-immediate solicitation letter” tactic, but not only is it contract-hunting season, I also recently shared some controversial truths about schools in one of the articles I had published last month. Writing in Exceptional Parent magazine I thought through my 14 years of school consulting, and openly 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, why don’t we apply this same principle to our students with non-apparent disabilities? Do you feel that neurotypical staff—however educated and well-meaning—are as able to accomplish the goal of establishing true trust…as a staff member with wiring (and paperwork) that is similar to the kids? Doesn’t this false notion go against a core component of what inclusion was meant to deliver? And with an ever-increasing autism prevalence level (if not diagnostic free-for-all), can we afford not to implement peer support in our schools?
Well, I’m a veteran school consultant, I save districts money, I have great references, I take on the tough assignments, I can heavily boost your community relations, I might rid of you of that handcuffing relationship with that “agency” you’re forced to do business with, and yes, I have the diagnosis too. Finally, if this email is too long, I’m kind enough to have left you free to consult the handy flyer I’ve attached.
I write you to seek (ideally, a 90-day) contract for school year 2018-2019. But in addition to reading this email I hope that you’ll also peruse the article, as it outlines many of the traps that administrators fall into with their thinking and fears, as they unwillingly prevent the anxiety-reducing relief of shared experience from enriching their students’ lives. After 28 years of living and working in New York City, I recently spent the last four years seeing the sad, yet illuminating difference in Wisconsin (which, to be fair, is a very special case). I was amazed at how work that we began in New York in 2004 still has yet to reach the rest of the country, and how old obstacles and cultural barriers still remain.
Some of you may say that you already have autism consulting lined up. In a few cases, your service might be adequate. But (taking my self-interest with a grain of salt) I’m skeptical.
Imagine your district enjoying not only the absence of ineffective and financially-draining arrangements with those outside agencies, or the “certified” consultant who pretends to know how to use data, but also…imagine 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 2—soon to be 3—not self-published, and (more than) well-praised books in the autism/Asperger world
• had over 30 entries in a 4-year run with my “Autism Without Fear” column in the Huffington Post (as well as over a dozen articles in various other publications)
• has made well over 150 keynotes and trainings (please see the attached flyer for topics); which this year will include Canada, Malaysia, Australia, and Argentina
• 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 organization that benefits from HBO’s “Night of Too Many Stars”), 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
• has connections from all of the above that I can turn to, in the wake of indecision
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 with GRASP)
• run teacher support groups
• set up and run after-school or evening parent support networks, as well as groups
• met weekly with individual students in a peer mentoring (counseling—though I never call it that) 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
• provided feedback on behavior plans, IEPs (including attendance at meetings), and curriculums
• conducted the aforementioned trainings and presentations for a variety of settings, and amidst a variety of schools administrative and staff ranks
• conducted assessments (classrooms, teachers, 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. 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
• helped 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 even coached a ton of travel baseball in NY.
Now, I’m not cheap. But I’m less costly than those agencies that often charge four figures a day for “experts” making very little, with no benefits or guaranteed hours (you are, in effect, bankrolling said agency’s support staff with taxpayer dollars). And I assume you’re not like the Wisconsin administrator who once asked me, “Why should I pay you a regular consultants’ fee when you have a disability?”
Please let me know if you would like contact info for any of my prior supervisors in New York City, Milwaukee, or the Fort Berthold Reservation (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara) in North Dakota. They’re happy to speak to you. 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. Expertise and diagnosis aside, I also find that happy big, and happy loud resonate well with the kids.
Finally, should you wish to know more, below my signature you can either click on the many links to my author/presenting website, or to schedule a talk you can write me with dates and times that work for you. Or, just feel free to call me on my cell at 646.318.7072.
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.