It is almost trite to say, “change is difficult.” After all, we know it’s true. Recently I made a big change; CEG is the result of that.
When I was young, my father told me, “if you don’t have a job you would do for free, step out in faith. Quit your job. God will give you the work of your heart.” When I followed that advice, he often said, “What are you doing?” All kidding aside, abruptly changing course can be scary.
CEG was created to fill a gap I noticed, and which my employer and I became increasingly alarmed about, over the past couple of years in services to students in Volusia. I worked as Coordinator of Educational Training Programs at the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of Central Florida. Communication between parents and educators in Volusia, with regard to the population we served at CARD, became increasingly difficult and I often found myself in the middle–right where my job description said I should be. Yet, due to the fears of a few, my hands were tied behind my back; I wasn’t allowed to even recommend a good teacher, classroom, strategy. I decided to quit and start my own consulting service, so I could be myself! I am happy I did.
Tonight I was going over my contractual obligations if I’d chosen to stay in that job; I was stunned to find (since I knew I was quitting, I hadn’t even looked at the paperwork) that if I’d stayed, I was agreeing to “Refrain from providing recommendations regarding school-based issues with any families.” I could never agree to that. What is needed in education today is people who are willing and able to make recommendations regarding school-based issues with families! Particularly, in my opinion, when it comes to students with ASD. With this new company, I am not limited to serving students with singular exceptionalities; I can work for a better education for any student.
I do have a few regrets, and one is that I didn’t have the faith to step out sooner to serve the educational community in this area to the best of my ability. However, I have faith in the future. As I have said before, and will say again, I am a product of a wonderful school system–Volusia! I intend to see this district return to its former glory and want to be a small part of making the happen. The gap I seek to fill? Opening the doors of communication between all stakeholders in students’ educations, so everybody can park their egos and get the job done. Let’s all have a little faith in each other. We can each be a small part of the scaffolding that builds a life-long learner. But, we need to team to do that, not “refrain from providing.”
As my mentor Robert Creeley would say, “Onward!”