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Be on the lookout starting March 9, 2018 as two special needs colleagues and friends provide tips and strategies for providers working with families with special healthcare needs.

Rebecca Bardenhagen, M.Ed. and Lakshmi Mahadevan, Ph.D, have been friends and colleagues for over twenty years and are excited to bring you blogs specifically for Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) providers. Using Rebecca’s practical experience and Dr. Mahadevan’s knowledge of professional development in the area of special populations, they will provide monthly content on topics that will aid service providers to effectively work with families with members who have special needs. Specifically, they will focus on topics such as advocacy, behavioral techniques, understanding Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and acceptable accommodations and modifications.

Meet the Author(s)

Rebecca Bardenhagen, M.Ed.

Rebecca has been an educator for over 20 years. She holds a Master of Education in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Career Development Education, a Master of Education in International Literacy, and a Bachelor of Science in Education.  Rebecca has taught a variety of age groups including English as a second language preschool and elementary learners as well as at-risk high school students.  In addition, she has worked as a project aide with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Career and Technical Special Populations (CTSP) division at Texas A&M University where she collaborated with a team to research, write, and produce a teacher training video in July of 2016 entitled “Encouraging Student Resilience: Practical Strategies for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teachers.”  In addition, Rebecca’s work included writing and posting weekly blogs regarding serving special populations in CTE classes, utilizing twitter to disseminate news and articles, maintaining and updating professional resources on the website, and aiding in the maintenance and dissemination of library materials.  Currently, she is working with middle special education students in middle school.


Lakshmi Mahadevan, Ph.D.

Dr. Mahadevan is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist – Special Populations at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. A native of India, Dr. Mahadevan came to the United States as a doctoral student in 1998. After completing her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 2002, she began her career as a program coordinator at Texas A&M University. For the past 12 years, Dr. Mahadevan has focused on developing and delivering quality professional development programs for public school educators in Texas. Her areas of expertise include teaching special populations, career and technical education, post-secondary options for students with special needs and multicultural career counseling.

Keep an eye out of for these two, later this month as they come together to provide quality, credible information for special needs providers on a variety of issues.

This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on March 2, 2018.