“Navigating the System” Featured in Autism File Magazine

Navigating the System: A broadstroke overview of funding and services for individuals with developmental disabilities from birth forward

By Catherine Purple Cherry, AIA, CAS, LEED, Purposeful Architecture 

During the journey of raising a child with special needs, it’s not unusual for parents to understand only a small segment of the services available to their child and family. It’s also not unusual for the groups

providing services to understand only a different segment of services. Very few truly know the full picture of supporting a child with disabilities throughout life or who to approach and from where the funding comes. The purpose of this article is to provide a broadstroke fundamental overview of this journey.

When children are diagnosed with a developmental or intellectual disability, they may be registered prior to the age of 18 with their ….

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“Ask Cathy” Column December 2017

“Ask Cathy… An Open Dialogue with a Mother and Special Needs Architect”

Q: My daughter continuously picks at her skin. I’ve tried everything from topicals to wrapping areas so that she cannot get to them. This often results in her drawing blood which then seems to trigger another obsession—her interest in blood. I’m at my wit’s end.

A: I’m by no means a medical professional but I do have experience with the exact thing you describe. I believe it’s fundamentally true that it’s hard for our kids to stop anything once they’ve started it. In this case, your daughter starts picking and can’t tell her mind to stop. I don’t specifically relate this to the autism spectrum because the same pattern can be witnessed in individuals with anxiety disorder and likely other diagnoses. ….

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“Traveling, Trips, and Dining Out” Featured in Charlottesville Family Magazine

Life with a Child with ASD, One Mother’s View

Raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)  isn’t always easy,  and you shouldn’t feel that taking care of yourself is an act of selfishness—it’s a necessity.  Because, being emotionally strong  will not only better prepare you to care for your child but also give you the focus and understanding you need when your child throws you a curveball. With children on the autism spectrum, there are no consistent expectations or habits. It is a spectrum, and every child has varying abilities and challenges, and handles situations differently. Keeping an open mind and retooling information to fit your family’s  needs is some of the best advice. Read on to share in our family’s  journey and, I hope, take away some ideas and ….

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“Ask Cathy” Column: October 2017

“Ask Cathy… An Open Dialogue with a Mother and Special Needs Architect”

Q: My daughter on the spectrum is 14 and attends public school. She has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) which provides her support each day. The school team is beginning to discuss transition. I’m not really clear about this process. Can you advise me about your experience?

A: Transition is a requirement of the federal  IDEA Act (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and must begin by or before the student is 16. This addresses your child’s needs to either be on diploma track or certificate bound. Different states call this by different names but fundamentally, the team begins to focus on the specific transition requirements for your child to adulthood. A child with special needs can remain in school until age 21 ….

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