Heather Eckner is the founder and Executive Director of A2IDEAS. She holds a BS in Accounting from the Pennsylvania State University and MA in Education from Ursuline College. Heather has general education classroom teaching experience comprising the inclusion of special education students. She is the parent of two children who have received special education services and supports.
Heather initially began advocating for her son with early intervention at 12 months old with an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) that has continued through elementary school Individualized Education Program (IEP). Starting in 2011, Heather began efforts toward affecting systemic change through various volunteer roles by serving on school committees and executive boards, collaborating in advisory groups, and by helping individual families.
Over the past several years, Heather has actively pursued continuing education by attending professional development workshops and advocacy training in addition to statewide conferences and national speaker series. Her extensive knowledge includes eligibility and continuum of services in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Dyslexia.
Heather is passionate about furthering evidence-based inclusive practices to support individuals with disabilities in education and the greater community.
Outside of her advocacy work, Heather loves to spend time with her husband and kids exploring the Ann Arbor area. They take many trips to the YMCA, Hands on Museum, and all of the great local parks!
Heather is proud of the Board of Directors who enthusiastically support the mission of A2IDEAS.
Heather Eckner – Special Education Experience
Wrightslaw blog: Effective Advocacy Strategies – Automatic in Real-Time!
Ann Arbor Family Press Mindful Meetings: 6 Tips to Help Prepare for Your Child’s IEP Meeting
A2IDEAS Executive Director Awarded Volunteerism Scholarship from the Michigan Nonprofit Association
A2IDEAS Executive Director Named Instructional Assistant at Wayne State University to Provide Family Development Programming
Autism Alliance of Michigan (AAoM) MiNavigator April 2020 issue: “We’re All Homeschooling Now” contributed by Heather Eckner, M.A.Ed.
Ann Arbor Family Press: A Community Culture of Advocacy
All About Ann Arbor: A2IDEAS helps Ann Arbor families navigate special education resource. Nonprofit advocates for system reforms, special education supports.
Autism Alliance of Michigan (AAoM) MiNavigator August 2020 issue: “Back to School in the Era of COVID: Back to Basics in Education Advocacy” contributed by Heather Eckner, M.A.Ed.
Mlive: What Parents of [Students with Disabilities] Should Know About the School Year