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My journey as teacher did not began immediately after college. Cathy Austin, special education B. S., is an Intellectual Disabilities and Autism teacher for DeKalb County School District. She has 21 years of experience working with children with ID and Autism. Ms. Austin works with Children diagnosed or identified with autism, cerebral palsy, Mental Retardation, intellectual impairment, physical impairments, learning disabilities and Down syndrome. Ms. Austin believes that providing structure and organization through use of visual supports on a child's level of understanding can help to alleviate or moderate problems that arise. Thus, allows individuals with disabilities to demonstrate to others their capabilities. Teaching is actually a second career for me; I worked as a nurse's aide for 4 years. I was trying to run from the calling of God on my life. How many know when you get in your quite time God will speak to you. On the job doing my daily routine the voice of God spoke and said "this not what I told you to do!" Then God said "I told you to teach children with special needs." I was good at my job, but I was not fulfilled because part of me was void and empty on the inside. Limited with only being a nurse's aide, I decided to apply for college to get a degree to teach. I was unemployed for five months and then got an opportunity to go to college and get my Bachelor Degree in Special Education (Mentally Retardation). The first job as a special education teacher was homebound. The moment I met my first students in a trailer park, I fell in love. I was opened to the abilities and disabilities of people. I wanted to do something to help and to make a difference in the lives of these young children. From there I received all of my appropriate certificates to move from homebound to a certified teacher in the classroom
Anyone who knows me knows that I love my disabled people and I love my church. I have served on the welcome committee at the church and various service projects as well. My favorite project would be walking for March of Dime, Autism, Cerebral Palsy and many more walks every year. I enjoy educating the community about the several types of parent groups and advocate group to support the parent. This passion I have been instilled in me from my mom, she had her own community involvement where she would the poor, children with no home and buys and delivers food for the homeless every 3 months.
My philosophy of teaching is very simple. It simply is to go beyond the standards, improving inappropriate behavior and communication skills. One needs heart and compassion to teach and reach children with special needs. Having the desire to get to know the students and actually listen to them is a major part. The students respond better when they know you care, and care enough to watch their patterns and identify the times when they are not themselves and need help beyond the lesson for the day.
My thoughts are what one can do to strengthen and improve oneself in the teaching profession is to evolve. Children are changing. Curriculum and techniques is changing. The world is changing, so for me to remain the same and not evolve with the change of society and the people in it does not help children. The overall goal in education is to help children and in order to do that one need to constantly reevaluate ones lessons, approach and delivery as a whole. As a teacher you learned so much from your peers, but one will continue to watch and learn from the students as well. It is honestly believed that one can make a difference in the life of a child, everyday.
What is the firm product or service?
As a teacher one must believe each student has the capacity to learn and excel in academic, communication, socially, and emotionally. As a teacher one will witness the ability of students from various socio-economic backgrounds and mental abilities to absorb and learn skills by using technology. The true determining factor for student success is each student's individual ability of commitment to learning.
My greatest contribution to education is teaching from the perspective that every student can learn. While understand different learning styles there are no diminished expectations in my class. Through my experiences, Ms. Austin have witnessed first-hand the ability of every student to learn once they become intellectually curious and reach a desire to learn. This is my greatest contribution to education, because it allows each student to explore and learn in a classroom environment (disabled and nondisabled peers) which does not have diminished expectations for their success.
What is the problem? The problem is too many children with disabilities grow up without enough discipline, teaching and training to help them succeed in life. Too many children learn and display inappropriate behavior in public and in the home environment. That is why early intervention starting at an early age to teach the appropriate behavior in the home and in the community. Also they need to learn at an early age the consequence for inappropriate behavior.
What can you do to strengthen and improve the child's life?
The teaching profession can be strengthened by additional parent-involvement. The students whose parents are involved and vigilant about seeking opportunities to further expand their child's learning and abilities are the most successful students. The art of learning does not occur solely within the confines of the classroom, but includes life-lessons and cultural experiences. The parents who ensure they are providing these additional resources for their children help not only the child, but the teacher who can draw from these experiences to illustrate key points in the child and parent life.
My Career and Educational Experience
B.S. Degree in Special Education
MBA Degree in February 2013
2 + years Adult Workshop
2 years Georgia Regional (skilled area) children Intellectual Disabilities
3+ years supervisory experience of staff
20+ years teaching Intellectual Disabilities/Autism experience
Past strategic choices-
Through the DeKalb County School District, Clayton County Adult workshop, and Douglas county workshop my work experience are as follow:
Homebound- providing service to disabled students not able to attend public school system due to medical and fragile situations.
Clayton County - Respite care to children with Intellectual disabilities.
Parent Conference - meeting with parent for concerns and information
Atlanta Group Home - for Jewish Down Syndrome adults.
Current Position in the Market
Location of Business - The future home for the business will be 748 Flat Shoal Road, Decatur, Georgia. This business will start in the old "Y" and my pursuit for a loan of $300,000.00 for the building. This building is in the heart of the business district of Candler Road. It is one mile Flat Shoal Elementary School. The after school program will be for the disabled and non-disabled school aged children.
C:\Users\Gale\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\DSCF1006.jpg The Business Office and Classroom building
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Sitting area for lunch outside Playground area
C:\Users\Gale\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\DSCF1010.jpg C:\Users\Gale\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\DSCF1008.jpg
The last building is the recreational center and all these buildings are in one location.
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Affordable Price - The price for service for each child is $150.00 weekly, paying in advance by check, cash or money order. The payment policy is expected to be followed and payment is due on every Friday.
Support Service - Behavior Specialist, Occupational/Speech/Physical Therapist, Autism Specialist,
Employment - Recruitment and training
Open House - policy and Procedures, Job description, Safety fire, Tornado drills
The type of services that will be offered:
Full time child care
Part-time/After school activities
After school Tutoring
Parent training and support
Start up Summary: As I pursuit investor to invest into my business, the first location may start in my home. As the number of children increase and the fund are available then the Shoal road facility will be a dream comes true. Reaching into some of my retirement money, it is possible use funds from my 401to start the business in my home.
Business printing paper
1 Teacher Assistance
Built one room on house
Lab tops (4 to 5)
Enrollment will be at least six children per quarter:
First quarter expecting 6 children
Second quarter 6 more children
Third quarter 6 more children
Fourth quarter 6 more children
Total of 24 children
As the children increase then staff will increase to help teach in a small group to focus more 1 to 4 children in a classroom.
Vision: To enhance the life of the disabled child in socially, emotionally, academically, recreational and physically.
to teach the parents
give quality service and care
increase data driven
to teach the child the curriculum based activity and
improve student behavior
the economy condition can be a threat to profit (state funds to children with disabilities)
competitors can be a threat (like free public schools)
External Opportunities in the community for exposure and direct mail campaigns
The history of the Competitive Market:
All the information listed below on the competitor is from their website, it only to show the competitive market. The competitor will be most school system in DeKalb County, Gwinnett county and surrounding centers like Elaine Clark center. The problem with the school system is classes are getting larger and teacher is getting fewer. That is why parents will seek services to enhance their child's life. The information below will only show the definition of the Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), what DeKalb, Gwinnett, Down syndrome Association of Atlanta, Disability Resource Group, Margaret Harris comprehensive school and Elaine Clark Center offers the parents of children with disabilities.
According to Elaine Clark center (2008), "The purpose of transition is to assist students with disabilities to build the skills and supports they need to successfully reach their post-school goals. The 2004 reauthorization of the Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004) changed transition services to a "results oriented process" that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child. IDEA also requires the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team to include "appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate independent living." The state rules for special education require that transition plans be in place prior to the student entering ninth grade or by age 16, whichever comes first. The transition plan drives the content of the rest of the IEP. There should be a clear and direct relationship between a student's transition goals and the other IEP goals and objectives. Transition requires support from multiple sources for the student and his/her family to make choices, develop connections, and access services. (from: Georgia Department of Education, Transition Manual, and February 2008)."
According to DeKalb School District (2010), has 13 Centers (Special Education and Alternative)" DeKalb County Student Demographics:
DeKalb, (2010), "Our challenge is keeping pace with the AMOs targets set by GA DOE.
"In the DeKalb (2010) manual was put together as a guide for parents. The list of resources along with the question and answer section will be helpful in locating appropriate services. It must be noted that this manual is ONLY a resource. The choices are yours; therefore, it is the parents' responsibility to examine resources that may meet their child's own abilities, needs, and potentials.
Further, in serving the population with special needs, the importance of advocacy cannot be stated strongly enough. The Interagency Transition Planning Council encourages and applauds parental involvement in this process. Please commit now to becoming informed and involved. To this end, you may find the 'Support Services' and 'Web Sites' especially helpful. Services provided by the county for parents to seek respite care after school hour of operation (2010)."
The following is support service to help parents to find respite care in and around the Atlanta area. You can find these businesses on the DeKalb County school web page. They can be considered as a competitor for my business and a threat to the success of my business.
Down syndrome Association of Atlanta 404-320-3233
4355 J Cobb Pkwy #213 www.atlantadsaa.org
Atlanta, GA 30339
POPULATION SERVED: Parents and families of children with Down syndrome
AGES: All ages
SERVICES OFFERED: The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta is a non-profit organization dedicated to support, early intervention, education, awareness and advocacy to families of children with Down syndrome. FEE: $25 per year per household or lifetime payment of $250 per household. Parents of a newborn receive the first year's membership free. Full or partial
Scholarships are available upon request for anyone with a financial hardship (DeKalb Transition 2011).
Disability Resource Group 770-451-2340
4164 Admiral Drive www.gaada.info
Chamblee, GA 30341
POPULATION SERVED: Anyone with a disability in Georgia, their family, friends, and advocates. Also help public and private sector organizations understand and include people with disabilities. AGES: Rights and resources for people with disabilities of all ages,
especially people over 21. Children K-12 when the issue is not IDEA-related SERVICES OFFERED: Answer questions about disability rights, help people look at options, consultation and workshops about disability issues FEE: Free workshops. Consultation for individuals with disabilities is free (DeKalb Transition 2011).
Disability Link 404-687-8890
755 Commerce Drive, Suite 105 (FAX) 404-687-8298
Decatur, GA 30030 www.disabilitylink.org
POPULATION SERVED: Individuals with all types of disabilities
AGES: 18 years through adulthood
SERVICES OFFERED: Serves 13 counties in Georgia, and is a center for independent living issues. Their core services are advocacy, teaching of independent living skills, peer support groups and mentoring, and information and referral (DeKalb Transition 2011).
"According to the Center for Best Practice (2001) it is clear that if high-quality alternative education is to gain widespread public support, it needs to serve its students well while also meeting high accountability standards.
"The NGA Center for Best Practices (2001), states there is now growing calls for more resources for both alternative education programs and for better data and analysis about the programs. There is also increasing interest in how to assess what programs are doing and accountability measurement and about "how to introduce high academic standards in alternative education systems without sacrificing the elements that make alternative programs successful, and without compromising the integrity of the high standards" To bring high standards to alternative education programs (NGA Center for Best Practices 2001)."
History of Competitors
According to Gwinnett County School Program for Autism (2013)
Comprehensive Psychological Evaluation - includes a formal assessment of intellectual functioning and an assessment of adaptive behavior.
Educational Evaluation - included assessment of educational performance and current functioning levels.
Communication Evaluation - includes assessment of verbal and non-verbal communication and pragmatics.
Behavioral Evaluations - include assessment of social interaction and participation; peer and adult interactions; capacity to relate to others; stereotypical behaviors; resistance to change; atypical responses to sensory stimuli; persistent preoccupation with fixed interest and/or attachment to objects; misinterpreting communication and social interactions; and other behaviors often associated with autism.
Developmental History - includes developmental differences and delays and age of onset.
Gwinnett County School Intellectual Disabilities (2013)
"A student with an Intellectual Disability (ID) has developmental delays in both adaptive and cognitive abilities that become evident between birth and the age of 18. There are four levels of intellectual disabilities: Mild (Mi), Moderate (Mo), Severe (S), and Profound (P). Students with intellectual disabilities have limitations in everyday activities, including self-care, communication, learning, mobility, or the ability to work or live independently."
According to Gwinnett county (2013), a" student may be classified as having an intellectual disability when comprehensive developmental or educational assessments indicate deficits in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior (social, communication, self-care, learning, etc.)."
Elaine Clark, (2009) center for children with development disabilities, is locate on 5130 "Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, Chamblee, GA 30341, and has been in the business of teaching development disabilities since1969. Elaine Clark Center in Chamblee, GA is a private company categorized under Educational Cooperative Organizations. There records show it was established in 1969 and incorporated in Georgia. There business is teaching infants and toddlers (age's 1-3years old) with developmental disabilities. This centers first director was Sister Robert Therese of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Atlanta. In 1991, the center revamped its mission and increased services to become an "early intervention" center for children with special needs, aged six weeks to three years. Two years later, the center was accredited by the prestigious National Association for the Education of Young Children. In 2001, they established long-dreamed-of scholarship endowment with a grant from The Goizueta Foundation. All profits from the investment of this endowment are used to fund tuition assistance scholarships for families in financial need, to ensure that children receive necessary services regardless of their families' ability to pay. In 2003 the center launched an outreach program that's designed to integrate child development, social services and educational training to meet the needs of young children at risk for developmental delays. The program does this by offering developmental screenings, functional training encompassing care of children with special needs in the childcare center and case management for families with children who have special needs. Today, they annually serve over 80 families from all over metro-Atlanta, including Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, autism, and many other rare conditions. In 1975, the center found a permanent home in Chamblee, purchasing our current building and performing an extensive retrofit with a generous grant from The Variety Club of Atlanta, state monies, and individual contributions (2003-08)."
Growth and Development: Website: http://www.elaineclarkcenter.org/index.htm
Description: The Elaine Clark Center enables children of all abilities to become confident and contributing citizens of the community through an innovative model of education, therapeutic play, and experiential opportunities.
License Number: CCLC-1773
Age Range: Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age
Achievement and/or Accreditations: NAEYC
Days of Operation: Monday - Friday
Enrolled in Subsidized Child Care Program: Yes
Additional Information: Has School Age Summer Care; Has Special Needs Care; Has School Age Summer Care; Has Special Needs Care (Elaine Clark, 2009-10).
Margaret Harris comprehensive school (DeKalb School, 2012)
"Margaret Harris Comprehensive School (MHCS, DeKalb County School 2010) is a self-contained special education school for students with severe and multiple disabilities, ages 3 - 21 and grades P-12. MHCS serves as a valued component of the continuum of educational services within the school system. The educational program involves access to the general curriculum as well as a keen focus on functional life skill development. Students' IEPs are the center of all curriculums, and the school implements a trans-disciplinary approach.
Students at MHCS engage in a variety of programs that support their IEP objectives and overall development. In addition to general classroom activity, students access all school learning environments as well as the community. Programs include adapted physical education, music, home economics, library/media, swimming, bowling, Special Olympics, and they are scheduled to serve as workers for the school store. Teachers also engage students in instructional activities in various school and community environments other than in the classroom. Instructional environments include two fully equipped sensory rooms, a simulated apartment, the gym, and a variety of community facilities and venues that are frequented by typical students of similar age. The primary emphasis of MHCS' program is to promote increased levels of independent student performance on skills that enhance quality of life now and in the future. MHCS' staff is dedicated and works collaboratively to support all students and their families (DeKalb, 2010)."
Vision: To enhance the life of the disabled child in socially, emotionally, academically, recreational and physically.
Mission: The act of learning should not occur solely within the confines of the classroom, but includes life lesson and cultural experiences. The overall goal in educating is to help disable children improve and progress socially, emotionally and communicating. One must learn to make a difference in the life of a child every day.
to teach the parents
increase data driven
teach and reach a child
to teach the child the curriculum based activity
Current Position in the market:
the economy condition can be threat to profit (state funds to children with disabilities)
competitors can be a threat
External Opportunities in the community for exposure and direct mail campaigns
Concern for survival, growth, and profitability - According to Eikeseth, Svein (2011) states the "evidence for Early and Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) for children with autism is well founded in several efficacy studies. So the concern for growth is what makes my program competitive to last in this economy. It will be an intensive Behavioral intervention for both children with autism and ID (2011)."
Profitability - controlling cost, and managing budget is important to the business.
Internal Strengths and Weaknesses
Top of the line Curriculum and Training
Not enough funds
Small class session
Get the right people on the bus
Required Parent training and support groups
Someone stealing your idea
Quality care and service
According Ackerman, (2011)"The increasing prevalence of Autism has been recognized as the fastest growing developmental disability in the nation, affecting one in 88 children. It is now the third most common childhood disorder, more common than Down Syndrome and childhood
diabetes combined. In turn, parents need to be informed of the assessment, treatment, and intervention resources available to help their children if diagnosed with autism. At the center of KitKat the Educator, we want to reassure parents that there is hope, and through our services, individuals will be able to maximize their potential. KitKat has established itself as the institution that parents turn to for support, reassurance, and hope when faced with the uncertainty of their child's future. We want to reassure parents that there is hope, and through our services, individuals will be able to maximize their potential."
To most effectively meet the needs of children with autism and their families, KitKat The Educator has developed a training and education center scheduled to open in 2013.
Ackerman states (2011) "this new initiative will create a more timely early diagnosis screening for infants and toddlers who may be afflicted with Autism. A Licensed Clinical Psychologist (LCP) will be hired to meet the ever-growing demand for extensive evaluation, assessment, and treatment services. KitKat will work collaboratively with local service providers, and school systems, to create a progressive and comprehensive treatment facility to best serve children's needs (Ackerman TACA, 2012)."