Cutler debunks the myths that keep parents from intervening on behalf of their children... -- Contemporary Pediatrics
The author 'demystifies' the special education system and stresses the usefulness of ordinary, everyday skills... -- Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics
The author of this book serves as a savvy, experienced trail guide through the special education process and system. -- Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics
About the Author
Barbara Cutler got her advocacy training the hard way. Divorced and with two small children to raise, she began to search out services for her son with autism. It took her almost 10 years to realize that being patient, no-trouble-at-all-parent was not the way to get attention or services. She learned painfully through her personal experience that a parent has to become vocal, visible, knowledgeable, and relentless in order to become an effective advocate. A parent of a now-35-year-old son with autism, she has been through the system, in the dark days when her small son seemed to have no right s at all through the early days of the educational rights movement and lataer into the adult service system. From a once quiet and compliant parent, she became a leading advocate for people with disabilities and their families. Aware of deficiencies in systems serving people with disabilities, she worked on her own professional development, acquiring her bachelor's and master's of education degrees from Harvard (where she was also a Merrill Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute) and her doctorate in special education from Boston University.
Dr. Cutler has directed educational, supported work, and community resource programs; facilitated the development of a model respite care program; coordinated mental retardation programs for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health; and worked with Dr. Martin Kozloff at Boston University in training parents and professionals working with children and youth with disabilities.
For the past 20 years, Dr. Cutler has continued to advocate as a member of the governing boards of various service and advocacy organizations and state councils dealing with education, mental health, developmental disabilities, human rights, and disability law. She has given presentations on advocacy and services throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Her publications include chapters in Salisbury and Intagliata's Respite Care: Support for Persons with Developmental Disabilities and Their Families; Meyer, Peck, and Brown's Critical Issues in the Lives of People with Severe Disabilities (with Anne Donnellan); Cohen and Donnellan's Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Disorders (with Martin Kozloff). She is presently working on a book about families of and services for persons with autism.
Dr. Cutler lives next door to her son, George, and his wife, Sherrie, in Arlington. Her son, Robert, lives in a small group home in the same town and spends most weekends with his family. Looking back, she realizes that because of her son's disability, her career was chosen for her. She says, "I've made my personal and career decisions by dealing with the crises that parents of children with disabilities learn to expect as part of their daily routine. It's a life that's been harrowing, sometimes rewarding, but never, never dull. I've never regretted my decisions. Without strong parent advocates, our sons and daughters with disabilities could be overlooked and forgotten."