Become Aware of Autism TODAY……Steve Harvey & Fans !!!!

Another #autismawareness month is among us. Tomorrow is #lightitupblue day. This is a day that you will notice tons of people wearing blue, as well as government and other business buildings shinning blue light in support of the cause. LEAF is also taking this month to raise funds in order to help change many of the stigmas associated with #autism. Before I get into the details of the fundraiser, I want to take a moment and share some knowledge about Autism.

I and many others in America, heard the #shms (Steve Harvey Morning Show) on Friday, March 27. He was acting under one of his many characters when he made a joke about an adult person with special needs. I personally like Steve Harvey and I respect him as a businessman. When I heard the joke, I was more shocked than upset. I was surprised that a man with such class would make such a joke. In the days of social media, people in certain positions must be careful of jokes they tell. Although he is a comedian, he is also a talk show and game show host. He did offer what I thought to be “kind of an apology” later that day. There is also a video floating around from a mother that responded to Steve Harvey’s joke. Many are saying that the woman is being “too sensitive” and that she should “get a sense of humor”. This brings me to the point of this message today.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) states “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability  that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.” (  ) I was once asked if I thought that Autism was a disease. My answer now remains the same as it was back then. Autism is not a disease. It is a syndrome comprised of social and behavioral challenges that can possibly affect a person’s ability to learn certain information.

Children or adults with ASD might:

  • not point at objects to show interest (for example, not point at an airplane flying over)
  • not look at objects when another person points at them
  • appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds
  • be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
  • repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language
  • have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
  • repeat actions over and over again
  • lose skills they once had (for example, stop saying words they were using)

These are a just a few of the many struggles people with Autism face daily. I don’t think the woman that contacted Steve Harvey overreacted at all. None of us know what she struggles with on a daily basis. The thing about Autism is that it varies in each person,. No two people are the same or display the same behaviors. I thought his joke was tasteless & I hope to continue to hear him on the radio for the respectable man that he is.

Many children on the spectrum do not have opportunities to engage in the community or simple leisure activities, such as swimming or even going to the zoo, because of behavioral difficulties that they face; nevermind them going to church because of the stares they may receive or even end up being the subject of a bad joke. Many times, family members are not able to handle these unpredictable behaviors out in public. LEAF Learning Center is expanding services to be able to provide opportunities to youth on the Autism Spectrum. In order to better provide these services, LEAF will need help from all of our supporters and beyond. We are raising funds so that we can purchase a 15 passenger van in order to transport the children and staff safely in the community. We have candles and other items available at . We are also accepting donations for those that do not wish to purchase an item, but want to help make a difference at .

We are all put on this earth together to help one another. Make a difference today so that we can show Mr. Harvey & others that may agree with his humor that these children are as deserving of enjoying life and activities just like anyone else. For more information, please feel free to connect with us on Facebook at or visit the website



Tutor 2 Tutor: A guide to Creating a Tutoring Business

Hi #teamleaf Lovers! I want to share with you a project that I have been working on. This month, I joined forces with a wonderful educator and business owner from Tennessee. She and I completed a book/workbook! This isn’t her first time writing a book, but it was for me and I couldn’t be more excited. So a brief background on the lovely lady that I have partnered with!

LaTishia L. Jordan has been a teacher and tutor for a number of years. She started Micheaux’s Learning Center in 2005 because she wanted to provide a place for students to receive quality tutorial services that would help students succeed in school and reach their greatest potential. LaTishia has worked in the field of education for a number of years starting out as a Mathematics tutor for the math department at Bennett College where she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics. LaTishia continued her education at American Intercontinental University where she received a Masters in Information Technology. She continued to work as a private tutor and eventually joined the faculty at Randolph County Community College where she taught in the Business Education department. LaTishia is currently working on a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Pre-K through 12 Educational Leadership. She is a 2008, 2009, and 2010 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) award finalist and a member of the Young Leaders Council. LaTishia also owns an additional Learning Center, Nashville Learning Center that she acquired in 2013. She loves to learn and is working on making Nashville Learning Center and Micheaux’s Learning Center the best supplemental education providers available to the residents of the Nashville Metropolitan area.

I know….I know……Isn’t she AWESOME! Now that you’ve read a little about her professional history, you can understand why I am so happy to be partnering with her. Now on to the project!

Tutor 2 Tutor is a coaching program for people that have a true interest in starting a tutoring business. The business of tutoring is growing everywhere. With the Common Core Standards finally in place, many parents are realizing they need help. A small tutoring business has a low initial investment and as long as you truly work your business, it has the potential to be very profitable. The Tutor 2 Tutor coaching program covers everything from marketing your business to getting registered with your state. Both LaTishia and myself have started and currently operate successful learning centers, and they began as tutoring businesses! There is a lot of research to be done when starting a tutoring business. Tutor 2 Tutor has taken some of that load off of your shoulders. The program includes weekly coaching calls with myself or LaTishia, a weekly class conference call with a guest speaker, a workbook, and a network of other people that want you to be successful. The program will start on March 2nd has limited space. Don’t let a small investment stop you from a lifetime of financial freedom! For more information, email myself of LaTishia at . Join us and countless others in the wonderful world of tutoring 🙂

He Doesn’t Get It……

As many of you know, I am the Director of Loose LEAF Learning Center in Rockville, MD. Loose LEAF provides academic interventions to youth ages 5-21. One of my students is the subject of this note this evening. I have been working with him for about 2 months now. His family is from Egypt and they moved to Maryland because of its reputation in education. Montgomery County, in particular, is known for the schools and resources available to youth with Autism. My student has picked up on the English language very quickly[they have only been in the states for about a year and English is his third language; Arabic is first and then French]. He of course still struggles with comprehension in many areas. It is no surprise that this affects his academics.

Many times when working, he will stop me and ask me “why does the teacher give me so much work” or “why is this so hard”? When he first asked this, I simply told him because you are in the 8th grade and as your beautiful brain grows, so does your workload. As I worked with him longer and heard these questions more often, I really began to think about what he was saying. Here we have a student that is learning the English language, has a learning disability, and has Autism, yet the school continues to give him this large load of demanding work . I have been being the “family’s voice” and sending notes to the teacher to ensure that he is being accommodated appropriately. On one occasion, we asked if we could know what information would be on a test because the study guide was 8 pages long [front and back] and well…..there is no point in me forcing him to write all of this when only 15 questions would be asked. I also asked that he have multiple choice questions or given a word bank because he has a hard time recalling facts. He does wonderfully with prompting, however. I was provided with a completed study guide [how thoughtful of the teacher :/] and told that the test could not be changed. This sent me into a rage because this student has an IEP….what do you mean it can’t be changed. It then occurred to me that this must be apart of the Common Core instruction & assessments being provided.

I could go on about my newfound opinion of the Common Core Curriculum, but I shall save that for another day. My thoughts are now entangled with discovering when do we stop trying to bring students to a level of some fancy curriculum and start meeting them where they are. Everyone learns differently…..everyone learns differently…….EVERYONE LEARNS DIFFERENTLY!!!!! What part of this does the school system not understand. We as educators go through soooo much training in order to provide a proper education to each child, but we are still held responsible for their success. I don’t have a problem with being held accountable for a child’s progress……unless I am forcing that child to learn the way I have to teach it. This family looks to me daily and asks why is everything so difficult. Why is their son having to learn ten steps in order to answer a simple division problem. Why are they giving him such hard work knowing he can’t complete it. My student asked me, “do they want me to do bad”?

Well, you tell me dear reader………do they?

On this Sunday evening, I would like to

On this Sunday evening, I would like to thank each and every one of you that follow Loose LEAF. I’m sure that if you have followed us from the beginning, you have witnessed our growth and relocation. Loose LEAF is currently located in Maryland and serves students in Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties. Don’t fret Rock Hill, SC….we will be back soon! We provide in home academic interventions (tutoring) to help students stay on track or even get ahead in school. Loose LEAF also works with homeschooling families to maintain school records and IEP documents. Be sure to stay tuned as Director, Whitney Woodberry, keeps social media abreast of her personal insights and opinions regarding educational matters. If there is something that you want to discuss or want her to address, email

Uncommon Learning Disabilities….

Many people refer to them as learning disabilities but I refer to them as special learning needs. Every week, Loose LEAF will share information about a special learning need that is uncommon. By saying uncommon, I don’t mean many people don’t have it, but it just isn’t discussed about much. I want to share this information so that our children can have all of the resources necessary to get ahead in their education. Believe it or not, there are many special learning needs that teachers don’t know how to accommodate, because they have never heard of it. You, as a parent, are your child’s biggest advocate!

This week, we will discuss Dysgraphia. Have you ever heard of this? Do you know someone that has it? Dysgraphia is not a disease, nor is any other special learning need. Dysgraphia makes it very difficult for those that have it to write, take notes, and even process their thoughts. Many people with dysgraphia will have trouble writing essays and other pieces of literature because they are having a hard time processing their thoughts and trying to write them at the same time. The National Center for Learning Disabilities said “Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing, which requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills. Dysgraphia makes the act of writing difficult. It can lead to problems with spelling, poor handwriting and putting thoughts on paper. People with dysgraphia can have trouble organizing letters, numbers and words on a line or page. This can result partly from:

  • Visual-spatial difficulties: trouble processing what the eye sees
  • Language processing difficulty: trouble processing and making sense of what the ear hears”

Just having bad handwriting doesn’t mean that you have dysgraphia. This is certainly a lifelong challenge because it is a processing disorder.  The NCLD also notes that there are some accommodations that can assist students in their learning. For early writers

  • “Use paper with raised lines for a sensory guide to staying within the lines.
  • Try different pens and pencils to find one that’s most comfortable.
  • Practice writing letters and numbers in the air with big arm movements to improve motor memory of these important shapes. Also practice letters and numbers with smaller hand or finger motions.
  • Encourage proper grip, posture and paper positioning for writing. It’s important to reinforce this early as it’s difficult for students to unlearn bad habits later on.
  • Use multi-sensory techniques for learning letters, shapes and numbers. For example, speaking through motor sequences, such as “b” is “big stick down, circle away from my body.”
  • Introduce a word processor on a computer early; however do not eliminate handwriting for the child. While typing can make it easier to write by alleviating the frustration of forming letters, handwriting is a vital part of a person’s ability to function in the world.”

For young teens and even through adulthood, many of these same accommodations can be effective. It could also be helpful to teens and adults to take breaks in assignments, use tape recorders to take notes, reduce copying tasks, use writing organizers to help get thoughts down, and the use of assistive technology.

We all possess special learning needs. Some people’s special learning needs are simply a little more extreme, however with the right support and accommodations, all students have the best chance at being successful in school and at work!


For the entire reading of where the information was taken from, visit

Where the Wild Things Are……

“Where the Wild Things Are” first came into our world of imagination in 1963 in a book of about 40 pages (many of them having only pictures) and has captivated many of our lives since then. I remember reading this book as a kid, but at this age (who needs to know that), I honestly didn’t remember what took place in the book. I just knew that it was a cool book at one time. Although the movie came out in 2009, I finally got around to viewing the movie and I couldn’t help but view this movie through the eyes of a special educator. I read a few reviews of the movie, but the one by NY Times, stood out to me the most ( Some of the comments left on the review made me a little upset. Not because these people don’t have a right to their opinion, but because I viewed this movie from the eyes of a special educator, and to think people would feel this way about a child that has Autism, AD(H)D, Cerebral Palsy, etc. just gave me a headache.

Again, I know this is just a movie and probably had nothing to do with children with special needs, but that is the life I live and love and I approach every child with the thought that maybe their behaviors are based on a special need. What first put me in this state of mind was how “Max” (the main character) interacted with his mother. I automatically said, well he must have Autism because of his screams and upset nature. Now of course “Max” really went into his room, but the world that exists in the movie is his escape. I just really want people to understand that children with Autism have their own world many times and that is their escape.

Throughout the movie there were laughs, tears, and shocking parts that I thoroughly enjoyed. I also enjoyed how a monster was portrayed to look like his sister (KW). I was so heartbroken at the scene where his igloo was destroyed by her friends. All he wanted to do was play and when he had his meltdown, they just sort of left him there and went about their day.

I wanted to share my thoughts on this movie because the next time we see a child having a tantrum or just crying, don’t think them to be weird or disorderly. Give them a smile, pray for their peace and refrain from thinking of them as monsters. I was so thrilled when after he calmed down and came from his world, his loving mom was still downstairs with his hot meal waiting on him. We should all have patience with children and adults with special learning needs and make sure once they leave their special world of escape, we are there waiting for them with open arms and maybe even a warm meal. I mean after all….we all have a “wild thing” somewhere within in us. People with Autism are just lucky enough to be able to meet their “wild thing” whenever they so desire.

Be blessed and hug a child with Autism today!

Give Moore Book & Toy Drive

Learn more about one of the latest projects at Loose LEAF Learning Center

Being Starkey

I love learning about different organizations and businesses. I found about out this one business by chance. I’m sure you all have heard that things happen for a reason and people enter your life for different seasons. I met the Founder and Director of Loose L.E.A.F. Learning Center Whitney Woodberry while working at a local non-profit. I had no idea that we would form such a close bond. She truly became one of my new friends. Her learning center officially became another project of mine. I enjoy writing, painting, lending an ear or hand. I just wanted to take the time to share with you all about their recent book and toy drive.
This past week, the organization launched its Give Moore Book and Toy Drive in lieu of the tornadoes in Oklahoma. There were schools and homes destroyed after the tornadoes. Therefore, the learning center decided to sponsor the…

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The Aftermath of No Child Left Behind…..

    When this No Child Left Behind (hereafter referred to as NCLB) was brought forward by the Bush Administration in 2001, everyone was excited. I mean parents, teachers, administrators….everyone thought this would be great for THE CHILDREN. I mean why wouldn’t they? Title 1 Section 101 of the legislature reads something to the effect of ” Improving the academic achievement of the disadvantaged.” Title 3 Section 301 reads something to the effect of “Language instruction for limited English proficient children and immigrant children and youth.” However, as I browse through this piece of law, I can’t help but get stuck on Title 6 Section 601 that reads something like “Flexibility and Accountability.” This particular section stood out to me because I thought it would mean that the law would become flexible on the accountability being placed on schools prior to NCLB. In my opinion and the opnion of countless others, that seems to be the total opposite.

    I came across an article today (found in my links) that was written by John Merrow [I love reading his articles by the way], and this article was about the Secretary of Education and how he should/needs to step up with the new Common Core Standards being implemented in the majority of the US. Now I am not sure how anyone else feels about the Common Core Standards, but I have been in favor of a method such as this before I even knew it existed. The reason is because when I first went to college, I felt that I had been cheated all of my high school years. I graduated at the top of my class and was always considered smart, but placed in a classroom of students from various states made me question that. I wanted to know, why didn’t I know the answer to what my professor was asking. Why wasn’t that in my curriculum. I wanted to know how my fellow classmates that went to collge felt about their “new found smartness”. It was then [way before I knew I wanted to be an educator] that I knew something was wrong with everyone in each state learning different materials, but expected to perform the same way on a test and even in college. Anyhow back to NCLB……

    When NCLB came into play, this started to seem that it had nothing to do with helping the CHILDREN. Students became pawns in a classroom that resembled a factory almost. Child comes in…sits for hours…teacher dumps information into their brains…..they test….pass test….then go into the world as high citizens of the world!!! NOT!!! This NCLB has caused teachers and administrators to alter test scores because test scores became their accountability. They were now being held responsible for if a student passed or failed. This determined whether they owuld even have a job….. The case in Atlanta,GA is one of the most known cases of cheating occuring by the school administration, but apparently there are at least 37 states and DC that had school cheating cases. By cheating, that means changing answers on high stakes tests, saying low performing children were absent, and more.

    I understand accountability….trust me I do…but at the stake of what…..our children!?!? Yes teachers & schools should be held accountable, but there needs to be another method of measuring this. We all know that all children learn differently, so why would be expect them to perform the same…regardless of what the teacher or administrator has done. This is why I went into my own practice. It is not because I am afraid of being held accountable because I believe I am a great educator and am all about the individual child. I left the classroom because, I would be held accountable for something that I have minimal to no control over…a child’s mind and learning process.

Allow me to introduce myself….

I am a loving mom and wife to a beautiful family. My husband and I have 3 children between us and we love them dearly. I have a Masters degree in Special Education. It took me a while to figure out my path but I am so glad that I have. I love working with children and get so excited when they learn something new. I am especially passionate about reading. I am the Executive Director and CEO of Loose L.E.A.F. Learning Center. It is located in Rock Hill, SC and serves students in grades K-12 that benefit from specialized tutoring. I do not know everything, but if you ask me…we can certainly find out together.

The things I do know are:

1) God is the head of MY life and without Him I am nothing.

2) I believe in the self-fulfilling prophecy…our children grow up to be what we call them.

3) Reading is fundamental.

4) It takes a village of caring people to raise a child…not a village of chiefs!

5)Dreams are the only way to make something out of nothing!


This blog is where I will post my thought and ideas about education and anything that relates to it. I hope I will be able to provide parents, students, and educators with valuable information and opinions that will influence their educational journey!