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Episode #178: Compassionate Advocacy with Dr. Annie McLaughlin

Dr. Annie McLaughlin is a special breed of BCBA; she practices as an IEP advocate and trains other professionals to become advocates as well. IEPs can be a contentious environment, tip-toeing around and finding diplomatic approaches to tough conversations. Dr. McLaughlin explains that her philosophy around advocacy is to show us as humans with compassion first.

In her advocacy work, Dr. McLaughlin supports families through the lens of ACT (be sure to check out some of our episodes discussing this topic). She also uses her behavior analytic lens to take an important perspective for clients with diverse needs. “I want to be the advocate everyone wants to show up,” is what Dr. McLaughlin shares when discussing how to focus on collaboration through open communication and active listening. 

At a table filled with parents, therapists, and school faculty, Dr. McLaughlin advocates for “both sides” by highlighting parent concerns AND validating the expertise of the providers. The advocate helps make space for diverse perspectives while reinforcing ideas. When both the families and the providers are on the same page, it can make a big difference in the work they are doing with the learner.

You can find Dr. Annie McLaughlin on Instagram as @IEPAdvocateAnnie, where she shares about her courses and helps other professionals become IEP advocates.

#autism #speechtherapy

Today’s Guest:

Dr. Annie McLaughlin is a board certified behavior analyst who practices in Baltimore, Maryland as an IEP advocate. She graduated from the University of Virginia where she played varsity volleyball. Then she began her career as a special education teacher before attending the University of Washington for her doctorate and BCBA-D. Upon returning to Virginia, Dr. Annie worked in the clinic and home setting as a behavior analyst. Currently, she helps families navigate the special education and 504 process and also consults with school districts across the country for students with complex learning and behavior needs. Now she also teaches behavior analysts and related service providers to add IEP advocacy to their work.

What’s Inside:

  • How can an advocate help both “sides” of the team?
  • Advocacy with a behavior analytic lens
  • Supporting families with ACT.
  • Helping professionals become advocates.

Mentioned In This Episode

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