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Meet Mo Buti of AiepA: Advocate and Instructional Expert for People with Autism

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mo Buti.

Mo is the owner of AiepA, a brand new company that does so much good for so many. Mo Buti offers affordable advice and advocacy to families of those with autism and all other disabilities and special needs. She also assists schools, agencies and centers by consulting and presenting all over the nation. She has been in the field of disabilities/special education for over 25 years. Her passion for helping others is so remarkable. Her life seems to revolve around helping others. One must wonder, how did she ever get into this field of service, how did it get so ingrained in everything she does and why? When asked, Mo shared an interesting story:

“I come from a family of 6 kids, with red hair, glasses, and the last name BUTI! Yes that’s right…..BUTI as in “shake your Buti”, “fruity Buti”, “she has no Buti”…….. I have heard it all. Oh and did I mention that the 6 kids in my family were in order just like the Brady Bunch: boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl. Therefore, we also got called the “Buti Bunch”.

I grew up in a strict household with significant rules and structure. We mostly wore navy blue because my mother believed this color was gender neutral (therefore we could hand down to the next sibling no matter what gender) and did not show wear and tear as lighter colors might. With all of that said, we kinda stuck out like a sore thumb. In my elementary school in the Northwest suburbs, we had all of the students with hearing impairments get bussed to attend our elementary school. This was quite a great experience for me. I learned sign language at a very young age! But the biggest impact these students made on my life was much deeper. I remember watching them one day and realizing that they were the last picked for teams in gyms, sat alone for lunch and played alone at recess. And then I realized…… I was also in that group that was last picked for teams in gym, sat alone for lunch, and played alone at recess all because I looked different. And at that time, in 4th grade, it came to me……..when I grow up I was going to “make the special education students COOL”. Now as a fourth grader that made a lot of sense. But as I grew older I continued to want to pursue this in a more authentic way. I then went to college to get a special education degree and many others after that. I now possess an M.Ed-BD, M.Ed-ADMIN, QIDP certification, Director of Special Education degree/certificate from Illinois and my Type 75 Administrator certification. I spend my free time either being with people with disabilities, going to disability conferences, presenting at disability conferences, reading about disabilities and now working with my new business to advocate, consult and present about and for people with disabilities. So now here I am almost 48 years old and LOVE my red hair, wearing navy blue and looking for those perfect pair of glasses to wear all while I continue to help special education students to be “cool”. My 4th grade dream has come true!

As we talked to Mo Buti she lights up when she talks about her work. Mo offers affordable advice and advocacy to families of those with autism and all other disabilities and special needs. Providing guidance and support to navigate school district’s complex systems, she assists parents with every stage of the IEP process, ensuring that students receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Mo consults with families to determine specific educational solutions, services, and programs, as well as appropriate placements, to meet student’s individual needs to capitalize on their strengths. She works to further the individual’s educational, social-emotional and vocational goals to help realize maximum potential.

With over 25 years of experience, Mo is a practiced professional in the field of special education providing services and support to those with disabilities and their families. She served as Director of Program Development for Neumann Family Services, a leading service agency that integrates adults with intellectual developmental disabilities, autism and/or mental illness into the heart of the community to enrich their quality of life with choice and independence. Prior to Neumann, she directed autism programs and services for over 6,000 students as Manager of Autism and Intellectual Disabilities at Chicago Public Schools. Mo’s additional experience also includes special education teacher, autism itinerant, and special education administrator. She has served as an expert witness on multiple due process cases allowing her to provide expert witness testimony if required.

Mo is also a dynamic, international speaker and well-respected authority on autism, intellectual disabilities, adult services, behavioral strategies, educational supports, and more. An active member in the special education community, including the Illinois State Autism Task Force and the Vizzle Advisory Board, Mo was the recipient of the 2012 Bobby Reyes Tribute Award from Esperanza for outstanding commitment and dedication to children and adults with developmental disabilities by an individual.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest struggles are the following:

I can never say “no”. I want to help everyone!

It is sad to know that there are so many people that need help to get the services that they need for their child with a disability.

Please tell us about AiepA: Advocate and Instructional Expert for People with Autism.
We offer affordable advice and advocacy to families of those with autism and all other disabilities and special needs. Providing guidance and support to navigate school district’s complex systems, she assists parents with every stage of the IEP process, ensuring that students receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). I consult with families to determine specific educational solutions, services and programs, as well as appropriate placements, to meet student’s individual needs to capitalize on their strengths. I work to further the individual’s educational, social emotional and vocational goals to help realize maximum potential.

With over 25 years of experience, I am a practiced professional in the field of special education providing services and support to those with disabilities and their families. I served as Director of Program Development for Neumann Family Services, a leading service agency that integrates adults with intellectual developmental disabilities, autism and/or mental illness into the heart of the community to enrich their quality of life with choice and independence. Prior to Neumann, I directed autism programs and services for over 6,000 students as Manager of Autism and Intellectual Disabilities at Chicago Public Schools. My additional experience also includes special education teacher, autism itinerant and special education administrator. I have served as an expert witness on multiple due process cases allowing me to provide expert witness testimony if required.

One thing that sets me apart from others is my knowledge of Chicago Public Schools, knowing the stakeholders within the district helps to resolve issues much quicker.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have started my business sooner.

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