Special Education Advocate/Consultant
Jill Pearns has been positively collaborating with school teams across Arizona for over 25 years. Attending hundred's of IEP and 504 meetings in various districts, she understands that all children are born with unique needs. Successfully partnering with families and school teams, Jill ensures that the children she represents are treated fairly, that options are developed to keep them involved and included, expectations are raised for them and that most importantly.... they are afforded opportunities for success, happiness and a purposeful life.
Jill's professional experience includes providing special education and 504 support to families and professionals across the state of Arizona, as a Family Support Specialist for Arizona's Parent Training and Information Center (PTI), a program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. In this role Jill was involved with assisting over 10,000 families annually. Jill has also worked and continues to work with several colleges and universities, presenting information about special education best practices as well as sharing her first hand experiences, to pre-service teachers.
Jill's decision to become an educational consultant was founded on her personal experience. Her brother had Autism and of her three sons, her oldest son has Down syndrome and her youngest son has ADHD. Growing up with a brother who had Autism and other developmental delays, the passion to serve and improve the life for those with disabilities was ingrained in Jill at a very early age. As a young child she learned how to speak up positively, on her brother's behalf. When her son was born with Down syndrome, Jill would not settle for mediocre programs or activities. From day one, starting with her son's early intervention, continuing through to his high school transition and now today with his post transition activities, Jill has paved paths and been instrumental in developing effective programs that helped her son (as well as his peers and now those that follow) enjoy a very positive journey.
Along with her in-depth knowledge of educational processes, Jill's empathy and genuine compassion have made her a unique resource for families. Today Jill is actively recruited by families who have children of all ages and with all aspects of developmental delays, to attend their children's special education meetings. She is also called upon to provide workshops on special education as well as other disability related topics, to professionals and various disability support groups. In addition, Jill runs a successful social skills group for young adults with disabilities that has met twice a week for six years. In this setting, she has developed practical strategies and solutions that has encouraged these young adults to have continued growth in their life and social skills.
Jill's additional experience includes:
- Presenter of special education best practice, to a multitude of pre-service teachers attending ASU, Grand Canyon University and all the Maricopa Community Colleges.
- Partnered with ASU in preparing a state wide conference "Mentoring Special Education Teachers" and presented "ADHD... What the textbooks don't teach you", at the Maricopa Community Colleges annual Future Educators Conference.
- Presented a parents' perspective of best practice for therapists working with children, at the National Conference of Speech Therapists
- Trained DDD care coordinators on best practices in working with families who are raising a child with a disability.
- Presenter at the International Early Intervention Convention
- Current Board member and weekly Experience Leader for the Scully Learning Center - a program that enhances social and life skills for adults with mild or moderate developmental disabilities
- Facilitates and runs a social skills group for eight young adults with disabilities, that currently meets twice a week
- Provides workshops on special education related topics, to various disability support groups
- Member of COPAA, Council of Parents Advocates and Attorneys. A nationwide professional organization for special education advocates and attorneys
- Raising Special Kids Board member for 3 years
- Raising Special Kids parent to parent support volunteer
- Established parent support groups for children with disabilities in multiple school districts
- Established first time inclusion protocol in various educational settings
- Developed a reading program that is being used in several special education life skills classes
- Created and facilitated a district special needs basketball program
- Part of a support cadre that promoted and developed diversified curriculum at a middle school
- Hiring committee member - involved in the selection process for a district's Superintendent, several Principals and their teachers
In her role as a Special Education Consultant, Jill has extensive experience that can help families who have children with all aspects of developmental disabilities. With her guidance and expertise, she can help families get the job done right. Jill is available for all services listed on this website.
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