Special Education Advocate

Holly Correa has been an educator for over 20 years. She has a M.A. in Educational Leadership, a California Administrative Services credential, in addition to a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential. Her experience teaching students with spectrum challenges such as Asperger’s and Autism, combined with her experience facilitating the IEP process, make her an excellent child advocate. On a personal note, Holly is the mother of a child with high functioning autism and has advocated on his behalf throughout his life. She understands first-hand the impact having a special needs child places on the family, and is passionate about finding just the right combination of support so that everyone thrives.

Please call Holly for your Southern California Advocacy needs. 805 512-2034

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We have just completed our Advocacy School training classes and the Free School is now open to the public. The nine units cover the entire process from Eligibility to Litigation. The curriculum is perfect for attorneys, psychologists, parents of special needs children and others. Please visit our Online School .

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Finding Advocates

If you need to find an advocate for your child, try searching the COPAA database of members who represent special needs children.

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SpEd Law



Rene Thomas Folse, JD, Ph.D.

I am an attorney at law and licensed psychologist (PSY 11415) in California.

I have had over thirty five years of experience with disabled adults and children.

I have created this site to help provide useful news and information for parents, educators and advocates. I am retired from professional practice, however if you need further information you may contact Pause4KIDS my affiliated non-profit organization here.

Specific Disabilities

Visual Impairment
Cerebral Palsy
Hearing Loss
Developmental Delay
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Training Links

It is important that parents have opportunities to enhance their knowlege about their children and the services that are available for them. Here are a few links to orgainizations that provide training.



Psychology License
Child Advocacy
Special Ed


The Sandwich Kid: A Film About Siblings & Disabilities

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News About Parenting as of Nov 15, 2018

Ending the Homework Battle
Wed, 25 Jul 2012 07:06:05 - Pacific Time
As the shiny new school supplies beckon, the fresh start to the school year could be the inspiration for parents to shift their strategies when it comes to the nightly homework battle. "The battle is different for every family," said Drew Edwards, adjunct associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University. "Some children resist starting their homework, some have a hard time finishing and others do their homework -- but don't turn it in."

According to the summary published on Science Daily, Edwards, who is the author of "How to Handle a Hard-to-Handle Kid," suggests parents work with their children to develop a good system for bringing the assignments home. That could be a planner or notebook children use to write homework assignments down daily, or an assignment sheet you send with them to school. "It's important to get in the habit of writing it down and bringing it home," Edwards says. "That will help students get in the habit of bringing home the correct textbook or other materials needed to finish their homework." Here are some other tips Edwards offers:

Sometimes your child will tell you they don't have any homework. And sometimes that's true. "It's important to keep your routine going to create good homework habits in your child," Edwards said. "Set aside 45 minutes to an hour and create your own assignment that reflects what your child is learning. That could be reading, practicing other math problems or looking up current events." According to Edwards, making sure children know they are going to be doing learning activities every Monday-Thursday could help break the cycle of children who don't bring the assignments home.

While you are working on your new strategies, Edwards suggests retiring constant nagging and doing the work for the child -- the two biggest mistakes parents make. "School is important," Edwards said, "but so is the relationship you have with your child. Don't let homework become an issue that harms that relationship." Read More...

Playtime With Children Lowers Stress
Wed, 20 Jun 2012 20:48:53 - Pacific Time
Single mothers eager to lower their stress levels should spend more time reading and playing games with their children, according to a study summarized in Reuters Health. Researchers at Kansas State University found that although interacting more is seen to have a positive impact on the child, there is also a long-term benefit for the mother. "The most important thing we found was the best way to reduce parenting stress, when parents feel overwhelmed, was to spend more time with their children," said Blake Berryhill, one of the researchers who conducted the study.

She added that being a single mother may bring extra stress, because of decreased economic resources, longer work hours and a limited support network.

Nearly 10 million single mothers were living with children younger than 18 in 2010, up from 3.4 million in 1970, according to U.S. Census figures, which also showed that about 39 percent of births in 2010 were to single, separated or divorced women. Berryhill and her colleagues based their findings on national data related to single mothers. They also surveyed 2,370 single mothers, studied parental stress and engagement and child temperament at ages one, three and five. The child's temperament was an important factor, the researchers said, because the more difficult children were when they were young, the less likely the mother would engage with them. Temperament was also connected to stress because if the mother thought the child was difficult, her level of stress rose.

The study showed that single mothers who spent time engaging with their child at one year old were more likely to continue to engage with their child at age five. "Being a single mother and being a parent in general is very exhausting, but if a mother is willing to spend time with her children, it can reduce her parental stress because she will feel that in her role as a mom, she is doing an adequate job," Berryhill added. Read More...

Treating Depression Helps Adolescent Drug Abuse
Sun, 10 Jun 2012 08:04:52 - Pacific Time
Science Daily reports that treating adolescents for major depression can also reduce their chances of abusing drugs later on, a secondary benefit found in a five-year study of nearly 200 youths at 11 sites across the United States.Only 10 percent of 192 adolescents whose depression receded after 12 weeks of treatment later abused drugs, compared to 25 percent of those for whom treatment did not work, according to research led by John Curry, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. "It turned out that whatever they responded to -- cognitive behavioral therapy, Prozac, both treatments, or a placebo -- if they did respond within 12 weeks they were less likely to develop a drug-use disorder," Curry said.

The study found no such relationship when it came to thwarting alcohol abuse, however.

The researchers followed nearly half the 439 participants from the "Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study" (TADS; 2000-2003), led by Dr. John March, chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center. TADS is considered the largest sample of adolescents who had been treated for major depression. The participants analyzed by Curry's study were ages 17-23 at the end of the five-year follow-up study and had no preexisting problems with abusing alcohol or drugs.

"Onset of Alcohol or Substance Use Disorders Following Treatment for Adolescent Depression" (2004-2008), found that marijuana was the most prevalent drug used by study participants (76 percent); other drugs included cocaine, opiates and hallucinogens.

The adolescents must have had at least five symptoms for a length of time to be diagnosed with major depression prior to treatment: depressed mood; loss of interest; disruptions in appetite, sleep or energy; poor concentration; worthlessness; and suicidal thoughts or behavior. The researchers said that improved mood regulation due to medicine or skills learned in cognitive-behavior therapy, along with support and education that came with all of the treatments, may have played key roles in keeping the youths off drugs.

The researchers were surprised to find no differences in alcohol abuse and do not have an answer for why. Curry thinks the prevalence of alcohol use among people ages 17-23 may be a key factor. "It does point out that alcohol use disorders are very prevalent during that particular age period and there's a need for a lot of prevention and education for college students to avoid getting into heavy drinking and then the beginnings of an alcohol disorder," Curry said. "I think that is definitely a take-home message." Alcohol abuse also led to repeat bouts with depression for some participants, he said.

"When the teenagers got over the depression, about half of them stayed well for the whole five-year period, but almost half of them had a second episode of depression," Curry said. "And what we found out was that, for those who had both alcohol disorder and another depression, the alcohol disorder almost always came first." Read More...

Childhood CT Scans Triple Cancer Risk
Fri, 8 Jun 2012 06:46:22 - Pacific Time
Exposing a child to the nuclear radiation from two or three computed tomography (CT) head scans can triple its risk of developing brain cancer later in life, according to a 20-year study summarized on Reuters Health. The study also found that a child exposed to the cumulative radiation of between five and 10 CT scans is three times more likely than an unexposed child to develop leukemia.

While the absolute risk of cancers developing after a CT scan is still small, the researchers said radiation doses should be kept as low as possible and alternatives to ionizing radiation should be used whenever possible. "It's well known that radiation can cause cancer but there is an ongoing scientific debate about whether relatively low doses of radiation, like those received from CT scans, do increase cancer risks, and if so the magnitude of those risks," said Amy Berrington de Gonzalez of the National Cancer Institute at the United States National Institutes of Health, who worked on the study with scientists from Britain and Canada.

"Ours is the first study to provide direct evidence of a link...and we were also able to quantify that risk."

CT imaging is a diagnostic technique often used on children with possible head injuries. The number of CT scans has increased rapidly in the United States and other wealthy countries, particularly in the past decade, because new uses are constantly being identified, such as scanning for possible appendicitis. The risk of developing cancer comes from the ionizing radiation used in CT scans. The risk is higher in children, who are more radiosensitive than adults.

"This work emphasizes the very great importance of only using this form of imaging when it has a strong medical justification," Bruce Armstrong, professor of public health at Sydney University, said in an emailed comment on the study. Read More...

Childhood Obesity Does Not Mean High Blood Pressure
Tue, 5 Jun 2012 14:50:30 - Pacific Time
An article in Reuters Health says that the rate of childhood obesity may have soared between the 1970s and 90s, but kids' blood pressure did not follow the same trend, a U.S. government study suggests. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that while the obesity rate among Louisiana children nearly tripled between 1974 and 1993, their blood pressure actually improved a bit.

Among nearly 11,500 children and teens assessed over those 20 years, the rate of obesity rose from 6 percent to 17 percent. But their blood pressure, on average, remained fairly stable. And far fewer children than expected actually had high blood pressure by 1993: about 4 percent of boys and 6 percent of girls.

By comparison, those numbers were about 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively, in 1974. None of that means that obesity is harmless to kids, said lead researcher David S. Freedman, of the CDC's division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity. "Maybe the biggest problem is that obese children usually become obese adults," said Freedman. Past research, he noted, has found that about 75 percent of obese kids are obese as adults as well.

And at that point, obesity carries an increased risk of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.In the U.S., obesity -- in adults and kids, alike -- had its biggest surge between the 1970s and 90s, Freedman said.

Since then, things have leveled off. Among teenagers, for example, the obesity rate hovered between 18 and 20 percent in the decade between 1999 and 2008, according to another recent CDC study. Blood pressure does tend to rise along with body mass index (BMI) -- a measure of weight in relation to height. But studies have had mixed findings on whether the rise in childhood obesity spurred any increase in kids' blood pressure.

A problem with some past research, according to Freedman, is that it failed to account for the fact that kids have also gotten taller over the years. Height, Freedman said, is a stronger influence over kids' blood pressure than is weight. "I think the take-home from this study is that we should not necessarily assume that increases in childhood obesity will be associated with changes in every risk factor," Freedman said. Read More...

Babies Do Well on Soy Milk
Mon, 4 Jun 2012 16:40:53 - Pacific Time
One-year-olds raised on breast milk, regular formula or soy formula seem to fare equally well in brain development, a new study reported in Reuters Health suggests. Past studies have found that, as far as growth, babies given soy formula develop the same as their peers fed breast milk or traditional formula made from cow's milk. But not much was known about signs of brain development, like an infant's early language skills.

The new study, reported in the journal Pediatrics, suggests that brain development is similar, whether babies get breast milk, standard formula or the soy variety. "I think parents who feed their children formulas, whether soy or milk, should not worry about any adverse effects," senior researcher Thomas M. Badger, a professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, said in an email.

In general, experts recommend breast milk as the best source of nutrition for babies. Groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) say that ideally, babies should be fed breast milk alone for six months, then keep getting breast milk along with solid foods for at least their first year. But that's not always possible for moms to manage. In fact, studies in the U.S. show that while close to two-thirds of infants start on breast milk, most parents switch to formula within their babies' first six months.

And Badger, who also directs the Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center, said that parents "should not feel guilty for using formula." For their study, Badger and his colleagues followed 131 infants who were breastfed exclusively for at least six months; 131 who were started on milk-based formula within their first two months of life; and 129 who were given soy formula. The researchers gave the babies standard tests of language skills and other developmental milestones every three months during their first year.

In the end, the study found, the average scores were similar in all three groups -- and all were within normal range. The breastfed babies did show a "slight potential advantage" in scores, the researchers say. But it's not clear whether that numerical edge would make a difference in real life. Right now, the AAP ranks cow's milk formulas as the second choice to breast milk, with soy formulas coming in third.That is partly because milk formulas have been around much longer and have not been linked to any adverse effects, Badger explained. With soy formulas, there has been a theoretical concern that certain plant compounds in soy could be harmful to children's development. But that, Badger said, is mainly based on lab studies where animals were given large doses of those compounds, purified from soybeans. Read More...

Folic Acid Tied to Lower Child Cancer Risks
Sun, 27 May 2012 14:36:01 - Pacific Time
A study summarized in Reuters Health says that rates of two rare childhood cancers declined after the U.S. began requiring grain products to be fortified with the B vitamin folic acid, a new study finds. Reported in the journal Pediatrics, the study does not prove that folic acid deserves the credit.

But researchers say the findings at least offer reassurance that folic-acid fortification has not led to an increase in children's cancers -- which has been a theoretical concern. "The good news is that there doesn't seem to have been an increased risk of childhood cancer," said lead researcher Amy M. Linabery, of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

In 1996, the U.S. mandated that enriched flours, breads, pastas and other grain products be fortified with folic acid, the synthetic version of the B vitamin folate. The goal was to help reduce rates of neural tube defects, severe birth defects of the brain and spine. They include spina bifida, when the spine fails to close during early fetal development, and anencephaly -- usually fatal -- when much of the brain never forms.

Experts advise women of childbearing age to get 400 micrograms of folic acid per day, and urge them to establish that level of intake before conception, since neural tube defects take shape very early, before many women know they are pregnant. Some other countries, though, are still debating whether to add folic acid to the grain supply. One concern has been the vitamin's potential to contribute to cancer; some research has linked folic-acid fortification to an increased rate of colon cancer in adults.

But no one knows if folic acid is to blame. In fact, other research has tied higher intakes of folate from food to a lower risk of colon cancer. Since women should already be getting folate and folic acid to curb the risk of birth defects, these latest findings should offer them some reassurance that it's safe as far as their future children's cancer risk, according to Linabery. For their study, Linabery and her colleagues used government data on cancer rates among children younger than five between 1986 and 2008. Over those years, 8,829 children were diagnosed with cancer. Overall, cancer rates were similar before and after mandatory folic-acid fortification. But for two cancers, the rates dipped in the folic-acid era, compared with the decade before. Read More...

Mental problems rise with kids' screen time
Tue, 12 Oct 2010 06:48:16 - Pacific Time
More than two hours a day spent watching television or playing computer games could put a child at greater risk for psychological problems, suggests a new study. British researchers found the effect held regardless of how active kids were during the rest of the day. "We know that physical activity is good for both physical and mental health in children and there is some evidence that screen viewing is associated with negative behaviors," lead researcher Dr. Angie Page of the University of Bristol told Reuters Health in an e-mail. "But it wasn't clear whether having high physical activity levels would 'compensate' for high levels of screen viewing in children." Page and her colleagues studied more than 1,000 kids between the ages of 10 and 11. Over seven days, the children filled out a questionnaire reporting how much time they spent daily in front of a television or computer and answering questions describing their mental state -- including emotional, behavioral, and peer-related problems. Meanwhile, an accelerometer measured their physical activity. The odds of significant psychological difficulties were about 60 percent higher for children spending longer than two hours a day in front of either screen compared with kids exposed to less screen time, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. For children with more than two hours of both types of screen time during the day, the odds more than doubled. Read More...

When moms get flu shots, babies reap benefits
Tue, 5 Oct 2010 19:07:56 - Pacific Time
Newborn babies whose mothers got a flu shot while pregnant are less likely to get the flu or to be admitted to the hospital with a respiratory illness in the first six months of life, U.S. researchers said on Monday. During most flu seasons, babies under six months tend to have fewer cases of flu-like illnesses than those who are 6 to 12 months old, most likely because they are protected by their mothers' natural antibodies. But in severe flu seasons, such as the 2009 swine flu pandemic, these youngest children, who are too young to get flu shots themselves, are more likely to be hospitalized and die from flu than older babies. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has for years recommended that pregnant women be vaccinated against seasonal flu, but the study adds to other research showing that newborn babies benefit, too. Researcher Angelia Eick, formerly of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and now of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, wanted to see if giving pregnant women flu shots could increase protection for babies under 6 months old. Eick and colleagues studied children on Navajo and White Mountain Apache Indian reservations. In these communities, children are more prone to severe respiratory infections than those in the general population. The team studied 1,160 mother-infant pairs over three flu seasons. The mothers and babies gave blood samples before and after the flu season and they were monitored for flu symptoms. In the flu season following the child's birth, babies whose mother had been vaccinated were 41 percent less likely to have a lab-confirmed flu infection and 39 percent less likely to be hospitalized for a flu-like illness. They also found babies whose mothers had been vaccinated had higher levels of flu antibodies at birth and at 2 to 3 months of age compared with babies whose mothers did not get a flu shot. Read More...

News Archive

Smoking around kids exacts a high toll: Tue, 29 Jun 2010 07:42:36 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Parenting style influences teen drinking patterns, researchers say: Thu, 24 Jun 2010 06:34:16 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Eating with an anorexic child: A controversial treatment: Tue, 22 Jun 2010 07:46:28 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Burger diet linked to higher childhood asthma risk: Thu, 3 Jun 2010 06:50:03 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Storm over J and J's child drug recall only grows: Fri, 28 May 2010 04:11:48 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Many vaccines at once OK for kids' brains: study: Tue, 25 May 2010 05:57:13 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Behavior therapy matches drugs for calming tics: Tue, 18 May 2010 08:39:48 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Smoking While Pregnant May Raise Psychiatric Risks in Kids: Wed, 5 May 2010 07:41:02 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Vaccine may trigger early start of infant epilepsy: Wed, 5 May 2010 07:04:08 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Supreme Court agrees to hear violent video game case: Thu, 29 Apr 2010 10:07:46 - Pacific Time: Read More...

'The Vaccine Wars' on PBS: Tue, 27 Apr 2010 08:54:17 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Parents' obesity, especially mom's, tied to kids' risk: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 16:13:29 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Older Parents, Greater Risk: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 07:46:56 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Spanking your kid could hatch a bully: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 05:54:21 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Exploration in Toddlers Activated by Fathers: Thu, 1 Apr 2010 06:57:54 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Your son's nanny may lead to the Other Woman in his life: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 11:40:39 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Brain Abnormalities Identified That Result from Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 09:44:34 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Kids Taught Self-Control Behave Better at School: Fri, 12 Mar 2010 04:49:16 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Obamas take on problem of obese children: Tue, 9 Feb 2010 08:05:43 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Study Shows Effectiveness of Abstinence Education: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 07:09:31 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Does a Parent's Gender Impact a Child's Success?: Sat, 30 Jan 2010 07:29:49 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Experts urge screening for obesity in kids: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 16:01:49 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Movies for kids still depict unsafe behaviors: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 18:28:43 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Breast feeding for over six months could aid mental health: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 04:40:55 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Home alone You can teach kids independence, but it'll take a while: Wed, 6 Jan 2010 06:43:00 - Pacific Time: Read More...

New Year Resolutions for Better Parenting: Sat, 2 Jan 2010 09:09:50 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Parents Gone Wild? Study Suggests Link Between Working Memory and Reactive Parenting: Fri, 1 Jan 2010 08:11:02 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Drug-using Teens Fond of Related Songs: Fri, 25 Dec 2009 07:44:47 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Prenatal baby aspirin not harmful to infants: study: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 06:03:16 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Heavy teens at risk for sleep apnea: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 06:03:09 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Dirt can be good for children, say scientists: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 08:19:01 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Sugar 'high' a myth, studies show: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 08:14:39 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Gender roles still loom large in modern parenting: Wed, 16 Dec 2009 08:08:32 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Lack of pediatricians hurting Canadian children: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 06:54:10 - Pacific Time: Read More...

News coverage of antidepressants for kids uneven: Tue, 8 Dec 2009 07:05:35 - Pacific Time: Read More...

A little Mozart might benefit preemies' growth: Tue, 8 Dec 2009 06:42:21 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Half of teen girls have STIs by 2 years of first sex: Tue, 8 Dec 2009 06:37:50 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Boys Miss Out on Sex Education Talks With Parents: Mon, 7 Dec 2009 16:28:43 - Pacific Time: Read More...

'Study drugs' unhealthy option for students: Fri, 4 Dec 2009 19:58:09 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Disciplining your child: answers from an expert: Fri, 4 Dec 2009 04:28:09 - Pacific Time: Read More...

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