Saturday, August 27, 2011

Individualized Education Plan or "IEP"

Hi Everybody, thanks for checking in today. Did not lose any weight this week but I gave myself an easy week so I can't really complain. Sold a couple T-shirts which means another $24 raised for the cause. Monday night's event at the County Cork really should be a big catalyst for us. I hope to sell out the rest of the T-shirts from this run and get tons of new people out to one of my favorite restaurants in Carroll County. All the money goes to Pathfinders for Autism. we will be there from 5-9 so I hope you can join us, and please tell your friends.
We had our first IEP meeting for Mikey this week. For those of you not in "the know" that stands for "Individualized Education Plan." The Public school system, in an effort to provide my son with a "free and appropriate" education came up with this 45 page document detailing everything Mikey needs to learn and to hopefully overcome his disability. Now is a good time to make this point, Mikey's Autism is a "disability." looking at him you can't tell but after "watching" him people that don't know him would say "that kid is different." Yes, he is different, but that doesn't mean he is incapable of learning. When he is given the proper motivation he can do things like what you see in this picture below. Remember, Mikey is just 6 years old, but he is very bright, he just can't always communicate that to others.

Thank you for reading today, together we can do great things!

Mike S.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Great Networking Event for a Great Cause

Hello and thank you for Stopping by. Please come and visit us at the County Cork Wine Pub from 5-9 pm. 1716 Liberty Road Eldersburg Maryland. Check out the video for all the Details!

Thank you, Together we can do Great Things!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Great New Social Media Tool for fundraising

Hi Everybody, this was another  productive week. I lost another pound so I am down to 240. That is 26 total pounds lost since May 19th. We also raised another $60 this week that put us over $2,100.00

It's the way I raised the $60 that is the best part. Trish Stone from Pathfinders suggested I check out a new fundraising website. It's pretty simple, you load a picture add a description and then it allows you to mass invite people and notify via Twitter, Facebook and your email account. I set up my account in about 15 minutes and generated my first $50 donation in about 3 hours. The next day I generated another $10 donation, so it has been a very useful tool. It allows me to create a street team and people can "vote" for my fundraiser. The more fans I get the more points I get, the more votes I get the more points I get. The points have thresholds for additional donations and this website has a tracking bar on it to keep track of my total donations. So please go to, become a fan, vote for my page and share this with all of your friends.

Thank you all so much for your help,

Together, we can do great things!

Mike S.

Stay tuned for a special video Blog on Monday!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Special Thank You to the Bowie United Methodist Church

This was another great week. I lost another pound so I am down to 241. And we finally broke the $2,000 mark in donations. check out the "Bags of Cash" below and watch the video to hear more about a very special donation this week.

Thank you, Together we can do great things!

Mike Shelah

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Twitter for Autism

This is a quick post. if you are on Twitter, please follow me @40miles4autism

Also, if we all add #autism to our tweets today or if we retweet anything we see with #autism in it, I think we cna make the twitter "trend" list

Let's Do this! Together we can do great things!

Mike S.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I'm Doing This for My Son & For all Children Growing up with Autism

Welcome Back Everybody, This week I lost 2 more pounds so  I am down to 242! We did raise a little money this week, between donations and shirt sales we brought in $55 this week. I just found out that our cost per shirt was a little less so once we sell this entire run we will make an additional $90 more than we thought!

I am sure there are many of you reading this blog for the first time wondering why I am going through all this trouble. My son has been my inspiration. When he was born in 2005, he was already behind the eight-ball. My son was a "super preemie." he was born 3 full months early and he weighed just over 2 pounds. My wife and I were terrified and 10 weeks later, we were relieved because he could come home. "It" was over. Really it had just begun. Mikey was a good and happy baby, but we started to notice around 9 months or so that he wasn't making the progress that a baby should. Now our Daughter was ahead of the curve of everything so we didn't want to unfairly compare them. But it became obvious that something  was "different." Lots of Doctor visits, school visits and educators later, they told us he had a speech delay, and then that he had "sensory integration disorder," then he was PDD NOS, and finally he was diagnosed with Autism. Boy, that's a relief now we can work to help him.
To put it bluntly, that is an uphill fight. The school system wants to help, but the bureaucracy of it and their lack of funds puts them in the unfortunate position that they will do as little as possible to help your child unless you yell and scream for more services. When you do yell and scream their are several services that can really benefit your child, but because they are expensive and would cost the school system money, they flat out refuse to do them. They will site "free & appropriate" public education and typically the law is on their side. We consulted with THE BEST lawyer in Baltimore for this kind of case and he told us that there is only a 15% success rate for parents that "file for due process" against their respective school system. Ask yourself how that must feel?You know exactly what your child needs to give them the best chance to succeed, but the school wont provide it and you as a parent can spend Thousands of dollars each year, just to level the playing field for your Autistic child.
And then there is the typical daily activities, like going to the store. How many times have you been at a grocery store or a department store and seen a child having an absolute meltdown and thought to yourself "wow, that is one bad kid!" or you thought "what terrible parents." I can tell you, I AM that parent and that is my son. He is not a bad kid and I am not a bad parent. Sometimes you have to go to the store and sometimes your autistic child just cannot be soothed, for a whole host of reasons.

So I am incredibly grateful for everything that Pathfinders for Autism does for families like mine. Now when I take my son to one of their events, I am in an environment where, if Mikey has a tantrum I don't have dozens of accusatory eyes staring at me, telling me I am a bad parent, Instead I am surrounded by people who look at me and say " I understand."

Thank you for reading today, please share this blog with your friends and please donate, remember $10 can go a long way.

Together, we can do great things!