President and Co-Founder Dustin Chandler, is a former, certified police officer in the state of Alabama with special expertise in narcotics investigations and tactical operations. During Dustin’s nearly decade-long career he served in different enforcement and tactical units such as a Special Operations Group which focused solely on street crimes. Dustin also worked in tandem with the United States Marshal Service’s Gulf Coast Regional Task Force in 2008 during Operation Falcon. Dustin is ready to put to work his ability to connect with law enforcement and public safety audiences supported by objective and creative information, insightful presentation skills and experience in law enforcement at training facilities throughout Alabama.
In 2012, Dustin’s second child, Carly, was diagnosed with a devastating neurological and seizure disorder called CDKL5. CDKL5 is a rare X-linked genetic disorder that results in early onset, difficult to control seizures, and severe neuro-developmental impairment. CDKL5 stands for cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5, and is located on the X chromosome. Most children affected by CDKL5 suffer from seizures that begin in the first few months of life. Many cannot walk, talk or feed themselves, and many are confined to wheelchairs, dependent on others for almost everything in life. CDKL5 mutations have been found in children diagnosed with Infantile Spasms, West Syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut, Rett Syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism. Dustin has served as a volunteer on the board of directors for the International Foundation of CDKL5 Research.
Since Carly’s diagnosis, Dustin’s life changed dramatically. Dustin became a full time advocate for children and adults with disabilities. He understands the vulnerabilities special needs population’s face in our society. In 2014, Dustin started and led a statewide effort in Alabama to legalize the use of High CBD and Low Thc Oil for the treatment of refractory Epilepsy. The legislation known as Carly’s Law, will allow the use of CBD Oil in Alabama to qualifying patients, children and adults. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will conduct the study of the use of CBD Oil and will be able to prescribe the medication to patients. Carly’s Law is the first bill of its kind to pass unanimously in the Alabama House or Senate.
Dustin is the founder of the Special Education Community Alliance in Hoover, AL that focuses on a positive relationship between educators and parents to ensure all children can reach their full potential. He is a Member of the Special Education Advisory Panel(SEAP) for the state of Alabama, a Member of Disability Advocates for Alabama Public Schools(DAAPS). SEAP advises the state department of special education on matters if unmet needs of children with disabilities. DAAPS is a coalition of advocates and non-profits committed to improving the outcomes of students with disabilities in Alabama public schools.
Dustin is also the 2017 recipient of the Dr. Rufus Partlow award – Alabama Civitan Central District. This award may be presented to a non-Civitan or a Civitan; one of the purposes in establishing this award was so that Civitans could reach out into the community and recognize others besides our fellow Civitans who make a contribution to the mentally and physically disabled. This award may be made annually by the awards committee, but since this is a unique award, the committee is not required to choose a recipient if it feels there are no nominations worthy of the distinction.
He has advocated throughout the state of Alabama and spoken on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives about the importance of community involvement in the governmental process as well as the inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all facets of society.