Articles

Integrated Self Advocacy ISA®

Valerie Paradiz offers workshops, consulting, professional development and comprehensive program development to schools, agencies, universities and corporations. Valerie also provides consulting services and specialized content development to non-profit organizations and corporations that are committed to supporting families of individuals with disabilities or to diversifying their workforce by employing people with ASD and related disabilities. Dr. Paradiz offers private educational consults to families and parent support on a wide range of topics.

Welcome to cutting-edge education!

You are among the rising number of educators, therapists, adult service providers, employers and families who know the importance of supporting the emerging self-advocate with autism and other cognitive, sensory, social, communication or movement differences. If you work in an agency that is striving to create programs guided by the principles of self-determination, you've turned to the right resource. If your school needs an effective, organized method for developing person-centered IEP or transition plans, or if you’re a teacher or therapist looking for a curriculum that provides lessons and activities in developing greater autonomy in self-regulation and self-advocacy, ISA is for you.

Initiating an ISA Program in Your School or Agency

It takes a village to support the emerging self-advocate with autism or related conditions. ISA provides comprehensive training and support in initiating and formalizing a self-advocacy program in your organization, while fostering ongoing collaboration among all stakeholders. Training components may include a variety of options from professional development for staff, to family support and training, to student workshops.

Professional Development

Integrated Self Advocacy offers professional development designed to support school and agency staff in initiating and implementing a program.

Workshops cover the following arenas:

  • Implementing the Integrated Self-Advocacy ISA Curriculum
  • Identifying Self-Advocacy Goals for Individuals with Autism and Other Disabilities
  • Integrating Self-Advocacy Goals and Specialized Instruction into the IEP or ISP
  • Developing a Person-Centered Transition Plan or ISP, using the Integrated Self-Advocacy ISA System
  • Supporting Emerging Self-Advocates with Enhanced Communication and Visual Aides

 

Family Training

Family workshops introduce parents and other family members to the fundamentals of self-advocacy. This workshop is designed to encourage family participation in the program at home and across settings.

Student Training

Student workshops and 1:1 coaching introduce key concepts of self-advocacy from the perspective of people with ASD.

Building Capacity with the ISA Certified Instructor Program

ISA now offers a certification option. We recognize that organizations must build capacity as effectively and efficiently as possible by providing professional development to staff who in turn can become in-house trainers to fellow employees. Read more…

Support Services

ISA provides on- and off-site follow up services after the period of training and program initiation. Services include planning meetings with staff, therapists, and administrators, support for implementing the curriculum, using and adapting teaching materials, integrating the program to fulfill federal and state requirements or school and agency policies and procedures, including IEP goals, the transition plan, ISP enhancement and data collection.

A Word from the Developer of Integrated Self-Advocacy, Valerie Paradiz

I am an individual diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. I’m also a parent of a child with autism, and I have worked in the field of education as a college professor, teacher, school administrator, and educational consultant for over 20 years. As you implement the lesson plans contained in the ISA curriculum, I invite you to keep this in mind: in spite of our good training or highly developed insight into our students, clients and loved ones with autism, we cannot assume that we know what it is like to be in their shoes, to live their sensory lives, or to feel social experiences the way they do. We cannot assume that we will always know what might constitute an improvement in quality of life for an individual, and we must learn to trust that they themselves, if given the training, opportunity and permission to do so, will open doors of understanding to us that we never imagined. I’m happy you’re committed to supporting individuals with disabilities in pursuing and realizing the governing principles of self-determination: freedom, authority, autonomy and responsibility!