Crystal Calhoun

Crystal Calhoun, M.S.
Founder, Educational Advocate, Certified School Psychologist & Behavior Analyst

Union City, GA 30291 (Location)
404-692-4334 (Office) (Email) (Website) (Facebook) (Twitter) (Linkedin)

"We have your child's best interest at HEART & SOUL"

Thursday, June 11, 2015

God's Word Will Give You Strength When Your Weak From Adversity!

Sharing a life lesson learned: Trusting God is easy when life is going smoothly but difficult when adversity attacks. Don't be discouraged or faint in the day of adversity. Instead, take hold of the word of God (read it, speak it, believe it) and feel your strength grow as you develop confidence in his word. God will change your situation and perform miracles in your life. Decide...who and what you believe. This is how your future is determined.

My Testimony, Hearing God's Voice.

I know God's voice now! He starts with a still small voice that whispers in your ear. Another way to tell if it's God speaking to you is if the message your hearing lines up with his word. For example, God is not going to tell you that a particular man who's married is suppose to be your husband b/c he already has a wife and that doesn't line up with his word. Also, most of the messages I hear from God don't make sense, they make faith.

For instance, in 2008 I was working as a School Psychologist for a school district here in Georgia and I felt like that job was killing my spirit, soul and body while my supervisor was trying to destroy me. I was sick all the time, depressed, stressed and in constant fear of reprimands. I was taking work home every night, not able to give time and attention to my own kids, losing my passion for my career choice b/c I wasn't making a difference in nobody's life anymore and angry over my circumstances which caused me to be easily irritated by my kids daily. I addition, I felt trapped b/c I needed the income this job offered in order to pay my mortgage, car note, etc., uncertain over my future, depleted, helpless, and utterly alone. However, all that year while I was enduring my tormenting situation I kept hearing a still small voice whispering in my ear, "This job is not your source, I am".

I knew God was talking to me but what he was saying didn't make sense in the natural so I kept ignoring it. Until one day I reached my breaking point and I walked away from that job without warning. Now mind you, God was also revealing my purpose to me during this ordeal. So I was working on those plans and thinking that once I get everything together by the end of the school year, I can quit and start on the path that God was showing me. How many of you know that God doesn't march to your beat?

Well if everything would have worked out the way I planned I never would have truly known that God was my source. I would have been relying on myself as usual. Instead, God took me away from that job when I didn't have any other options except to depend completely on him. That is when he showed me that he was and is my source. I have not had a real job since then, and yet God has taken care of me and my boys. In the natural realm I should have lost everything, my home, car, etc., but God has sustained me through it all! I still have my home, my car, and my standard of living has remained virtually the same, my boys are still involved in sports and everything.

I was actually struggling to pay my bills when I was working, but when God became my only source he took care of me and my boys better than I or any man ever could. I can't even explain how I survived, and on top of that I now own and operate not one, but two businesses (Heart & Soul Advocacy and Platinum Panties). I'm a living testimony that God is real yall! Trust and believe in his word b/c when you can't depend on anyone or anything, you can depend on him. My education, degrees, certifications, training, work experience, personality, looks and even who I knew couldn’t and wasn’t helping me obtain or maintain anything. I felt like all of my worldly accomplishments and attributes had been stripped away from me. I was naked in the hands of God, but I’m here to tell you that there is no safer place to be. Depending on God to that degree when I can’t see or touch him was especially tough and scary b/c I was responsible for two children who were completely dependent on me.

This experience has developed me spiritually, strengthen my relationship with the lord and elevated my faith to a whole new level. The fact that my boys witnessed this, prayed and read the word with me through it all has molded them too. They know how to pray and seek his word the way I do and that alone is the greatest gift I could ever instill in them. I would go through all that pain again to be at this place in my walk with God b/c I now know the power that I have with him and his word.

Now, all this year the message he's been telling me is, "The answer to everything you need is in my word". Basically, what he's telling me is that when I don't know what to do or I find myself in trouble or need help, go straight to his word/the bible. Don't call my mom or friends for help and advice, go to his word first and he will guide me b/c he is where my help comes from.

Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention is that God will confirm the word he is speaking into your life through other sources. I always receive confirmation through my pastor, the word of God/bible, other people or events in my life. I know this message was long, but I hope it helped someone like me to know the voice of the lord.

Blessed to be a blessing,
Crystal Calhoun

Friday, July 11, 2014

Secrets parents should know about the integrity and effectiveness of SPED/IEP services


Many students don't actually get the services written in their IEP consistently and/or effectively regardless of how professional or caring the educator seems when speaking with you. Keep in mind, the integrity and quality of services depends on the school district, child's school and SPED Rep. A parent must be vigilant about their child's services, while being careful not to risk annoying educators who often will take frustrations with you out on your child. Its sad but true.

Trust your instincts as a mom who knows your child and their needs, parents often have the answer their searching for but just want confirmation that they unfortunately may not receive accurately or truthfully by school reps. As a School Psychologist I made it a point to value the parent and teachers opinions and concerns. While working as an Intern I remember a parent who kept insisting that her daughter did not have Autism or Mental Retardation as previously documented within her most recent IEP as her eligibility label. At the time, I was administering her 3-year evaluation. Because of information provided by her mother I decided to explore alternative assessments further to possibly validate her mother's beliefs. Unfortunately, many school psychologists and educators don't take the time to explore inconsistent findings. Since I put forth the extra effort, sure enough I discovered that this child did not have either disability. Instead, she had a very severe Speech & Language Impairment (i.e., almost no memory for verbal information), which caused educators to think she had other disabilities because she was unable to remember the names of simple words and letters. However, this little girl had a visual memory like a genius. Therefore, she couldn't possibly be mentally retarded and her display of autistic characteristics were actually the result of her S&L Impairment. Can you imagine how relieved and validated this mother felt after not being heard and disregarded concerning her thoughts and feelings for several years?

In addition, many parents think that it is best for their child to not miss any classroom instruction due to being pulled out for sped services in a small group setting. Depending on the needs of the child, remaining in the classroom might be the best choice. However, sometimes having all sped services provided in the primary classroom are not as effective as being pulled out because the child does not get the individual attention they need to work on certain skills. This option sounds good but often times is not, such as collaborative settings offerred in Middle/High school. In collaborative settings some teachers use that service option as an opportunity to tag teach where they alternate days for teaching and breaks instead of helping your child by focusing on their individual needs written in their IEP.

To help avoid these neglectful practices, ask your child if they received services on specified days and what they worked on, do classroom observations, and volunteer at school. Do what it takes to get to know the type of educators and environment your child is working with. These strategies will help you determine the integrity of services provided, which is most important to your child's success.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Parent Question: Should my child receive Occupational Therapy (OT) at school or outside agency?

As a certified school psychologist turned educational advocate, in my experience even the most severe of cases needing OT did not get more than 30-min per week, which I didn't think was enough to be effective.  Instead, the burden of practicing OT skills learned to ensure success was on the parent working with their child outside of school.

My child needed speech therapy and because I was not pleased with services I witnessed provided in school systems within my state (Georgia), I took him to a hospital for weekly therapy where I could see with my own eyes the services being provided. Because OT services are so minimal and rarely provided by schools in comparison to other SPED services, I had very little interaction while working as a school psychologist with OT's. However, if I had the time, money or insurance coverage I would access OT, S&L, and other specialty services through outside agencies.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I believe it hurts rather than helps. Retention is a devastating blow to a child’s self-esteem. It makes a child feel like a failure without any hope. Students I’ve known who were retained tended to give up on school, lose motivation, fall into depression and perform worst academically than the year before. It is shameful to be left back when all of your peers are moving forward; because of this, many students endure constant ridicule. These kids are usually the oldest and tallest in their class and/or grade level, which may also cause them to stick out like a sore thumb and feel embarrassed. After being retained, some students become behavior problems at school and home. Boys in particular exhibit anger, agitation and hostility, which are signs of depression in children and adolescents. These students feel isolated and lonely although they may have friends, their friends can’t relate to what they’re going through. The emotional well-being of a child has a significant impact on their school performance. Just like adults, what we think and feel influence our behaviors.

When a school or educator recognizes a child’s struggles, interventions and support should be provided to the child immediately. This is usually offered by the teacher first by way of afterschool tutoring, differentiated instruction strategies, and suggested online resources that may be used at home. If there is little to no improvement at that point, the student should be referred by the teacher to the school’s student support team (SST), where other interventions are implemented and the student’s progress is monitored. After several different interventions have been tried and the child still has not made adequate progress, the student should then be referred to the school psychologist for a psycho-educational evaluation to determine if the student has a disability that requires special education services through the development of an IEP or a 504 Plan. More than likely, this is frequently the case.

Unfortunately, this is not what usually happens to struggling students. It’s sad to say that many inner city students in particular are often retained more than once as a first line of defense, although it may be clear as day to an educator that the student’s academic struggles are beyond their control. This has to stop! Students who have lived this reality sometimes become so discouraged and self-defeated that they drop out of school, become a teenage parent who now has to depend on the government for assistance, turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their failures, and develop mental health disorders from prolonged feelings of stress, anxiety and/or depression that go untreated; as well as get involved with gangs in order to feel a sense of belonging and respect, have difficulty finding a decent paying job, become homeless, hustle for money in the streets, live a life a crime, and end up in jail or the grave. Who knew that retaining a student could lead to all of this?
If your child is facing retention, Crystal Calhoun, Educational Advocate and Founder of Heart & Soul Psycho-Educational Advocacy Services, Inc. may be able to help save your child from this self-defeating reality. Call 404-692-4334 or view our website at for more information.
We have your child's best interest at HEART & SOUL...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013



Heart & Soul Psycho-Educational Advocacy Services, Inc.
 is now contracting services with 

Standard of Care Psychological Services, LLC.

As a result, Crystal now offers the following additional services:
  • Counseling (children & families)
  • Psychological Evaluations
  • Psycho-Educational Evaluations​
Call for more information or to schedule an appointment with Crystal at
 Standard of Care Psychological Services, LLC.
3915 Cascade Road, Suite T-90, Atlanta, GA 30331
The following insurance is accepted for Testing and Therapy​:
  • Aetna
  • Amerigroup
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Cenpatico
  • Coventry
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Tricare
  • Wellcare

For information about Educational Advocacy Services call Crystal at
Heart & Soul Psycho-Educational Advocacy Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 52, Union City, GA 30291