Why are we named The Change Starts Here Collaborative?

Nov 11, 2022

Why are we named The Change Starts Here Collaborative?
by Aubrey Page, Co-Founder
Well let’s start with who we are? We are a collaborative that supports individuals with brain-based disabilities and those who support them. We provide resources, courses, consultations, and support groups to meet the needs of this population.
We are The Change Start Here because we believe that change begins with us. It begins with us as a support person for an individual with a brain-based disability. We change. Not them. It begins with us as citizens, we change the world around us to better work for the disability population and don’t wait for change to come to us.
We are a Collaborative because collaborative is an adjective that describes an effort in which people work together. We are made up of parents and professionals who support individuals with brain-based disabilities. We are also made up of people who have brain-based disabilities. We...
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We're Back!

Nov 01, 2022
by Aubrey Page, Founder


I remember all of the energy I had going into our one-year anniversary. I was so excited to make our first animated video. I was excited about broadening what the Collab could be. Alex and I worked long hours on that video.
And that video was the last thing I posted on the Collab feed until today.
Why did we disappear for a year? We'll call it a sabbatical...
Honestly, I was too overwhelmed. My family was in crisis and instead of pushing forward, I stepped back. What unraveled in the following months included my discovery of my own ADHD and a major renovation on our newly purchased historic home.
This has been a season of me learning that I can do some things, but I cannot do all of the things.
Although it was the best thing at the time, this "sabbatical" has meant that we have been unable to launch some courses that we had planned or advocate on the level that we usually do. It means...
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The In Between

Oct 29, 2022
by Aubrey Page, Founder
My sister recently taught me a word.
liminal [ lim-uh-nl ] : of or relating to a transitional or intermediate state, stage, or period.
That's where I've been for over a year now and it is EXHAUSTING.
Last year, my husband and I realized that our current house wasn't going to serve us well in this season. We started looking at places and none of them felt right. Until September 2nd when we saw what was going to be our new house. It was perfect. Room for the kids to grow. A place for both of our offices at home. A location by a bus route and walkable to a grocery store, post office, movie theater, and hardware store. The library is even around the corner!
The problem was, the house was built in 1898 and hadn't been kept up as a single family home for decades. It was a major undertaking. It involved paying for professional asbestos abatement and getting a structural engineer to make sure that our house wouldn't fall down if we...
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Mama Bear? Sounds about right...

Sep 01, 2022

by: Aubrey Page, Founder

The other day I took my kid to the Orthodontist for a consultation. The Ortho was incredible and called me "Mama Bear" from the moment she met me.
Did she ACTUALLY know my full-time, terribly paid job of advocating for my kids?
OR maybe she know I had been hibernating for almost a year? Not hibernating in the way that bears do. Bears usually just tuck away for the winter and come out in spring ready to rock. I tucked away for wayyyy longer than that.
As many of you know, my family went into crisis last spring. I tried to push through what I thought was a temporary situation. It ended up being much more serious and permanent than we thought. We are just now starting to find our footing.
Last September when FASD Awareness Month rolled around my brain just...went into hibernation. I had plans and ideas and they just could not come to fruition.
I got to where I couldn't help with any household task. Many days, my husband...
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One Year Later...

Nov 01, 2021

by Aubrey Page, Founder

I can't believe it has been a year.  A year since this Collaborative was birthed.  A year since I took a leap of faith.  And I'd love to have a rosy story about how amazing this year has been, but let me tell you some facts.

I cried the day of launch. I put my heart and soul into creating a resource that I had so desperately needed and it launched to crickets.  Not only did we accidentally launch the week of the US Presidential Elections, but also I had in my head that people were chomping at the bit for this resource.  That just wasn't the case.  But why?

Why did we sell nothing for the first 60 days?
Why? Because I was imagining filling a need my audience didn't ask for.  My audience asked for FASD courses and I gave them.....a course on escalations?  What!? No! That's not what they wanted!

But I had a vision.

My vision was launching a Collaborative NOT focused solely on FASD.  Where we bring together all...

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What Can I Do To Spread FASD Awareness?

Sep 19, 2021
by Alex Tripp, Collaborator
Once I become interested in something, I try to know as much about it as I possibly can… Example: This binder started out as some handwritten pages in a notebook. I started researching and reading about FASD four years ago and basically, I never looked back. But, I kept wondering… How could I share the information I had and the things I was learning in a way that went beyond just talking to the people in my life?
Last September I really wanted to do something for FASD Awareness Month. What could *I*, as one person with a head full of information and nowhere to go, do to contribute to spreading awareness for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?
Well, I’m what some might call a “social media enthusiast” (and by that I just mean that a very large amount of my time is spent on it). So I headed to what was familiar and started posting information there. Then came the graphics, which I had so much fun making I would sit...
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No Promises, Just Try

Aug 18, 2021
by Alex Tripp, Collaborator
I can remember getting ready for back-to-school myself, and all of the different feelings that would come in the days leading up… Who’s class will I be in? What will I wear? Who will I sit with? Will I know my way around?
After I graduated from college, I started a position as a Child and Youth Worker at a group home for youth with various forms of neurodiversity; including FASD, ASD and ADHD. When it came time for back-to-school for these kiddos, I would think about all of those questions that I used to have and how they were feeling all of those things, and then some…
For children with brain-based disabilities who may have a hard time with transitions, new environments, sensory sensitivities and emotional regulation - I imagined these worries felt even bigger to them, especially for those kiddos who were new to the home or starting at a brand new school.
One of the first things I would do to help the kids prepare would be to...
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"All About Me" for My Kids

Aug 12, 2021
by Shannon Iacobacci, Collaborator 
Is it just me, or am I the only one feeling jittery about school starting back up this year? Maybe it’s post pandemic, maybe it’s the uncertainty that if I send my children back into school are they just going to shut it down again and we will be back to virtual learning, or maybe it’s just that my children are going into school and I’m nervous about how they will be treated because of their varying disabilities.
I don’t have the answers to all my jitters, I wish I did. Life sure would be a lot easier and relaxing, wouldn’t it? I started thinking, what I have been most concerned about? My child being understood. Understood by her teachers and her peers. The more I thought about it, the more anxious I became as a parent about sending my children to school, and the more my children would feed off that anxiety of mine.
I decided to ease my anxiety and my children at the same time by...
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When School CAUSES Trauma

Jun 29, 2021
by Aubrey Page, CEO

I have googled for a long time, but correct me if I just am a terrible google-r.

I cannot find discussion around the school CAUSING trauma.  When you look up school and trauma you get articles about how to provide trauma-informed care in an education setting. How to support the kids who aren't eating at home and the kids who have to sleep with one eye open.

Let's talk about the kids who have to go to school with one eye open.  The kids for whom school is the most dangerous place.  Why would school be like that?  What would cause that?

Children who should be eligible for special education services can be traumatized by school in the following ways:

- Not being identified and therefore being treated like a child who doesn't need support. Consistently failing at assignments and/or getting in trouble leading to a heightened vigilance or avoidance of assignments altogether.

- Being identified as a "behavior only" child when really the behavior...

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When the Doctor Said "No Babies"

Apr 07, 2021
By Melissa Jan
I remember the day I was told that the % of getting pregnant was well below zero...
I was around the age of 18 and when I was told I wouldn’t be able to carry my own baby. I immediately felt a sense of shame and that there was something wrong with me. I never shared this information with anyone, not my mom or my sister. I was ashamed that my body couldn’t produce what other woman’s could.
This isn’t my first time telling the story, but it may be the first time for you reading it. I often get asked what are the reasons for not being able to conceive. I am very transparent about my story and once I was told “no babies” I accepted what my doctor told me, which was that due to my Epilepsy and the medication I was taking it did harm to my body in that area. I mean, he was my doctor, I should trust him right?!
Fast forward five years and I am about to get married to my first husband, I am at my stagette with my...
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