Learning to Advocate Effectively

Stories November 01st, 2018

Erika LeBlanc first called Raising Special Kids when her daughter Becca was 6 years old. Although Becca had been diagnosed with a Specific Learning Disability at 4 years old, Erika really didn't know what the term meant. It wasn’t until Becca was 6 that Erika learned that the SLD her daughter had was Dyslexia. She and her husband were paying privately for a reading tutor and it came as a surprise when the developmental pediatrician asked what supports the school was providing for Becca. The doctor suggested Erika call Raising Special Kids.

Erika shared how she felt about her first conversation with a Family Support Specialist at Raising Special Kids, “It was amazing. I didn't understand Becca's Individualized Education Plan or the special education process. We reviewed Becca’s IEP and it really helped me understand it. She provided me with resources, suggested videos and recommended the Raising Special Kids classes.”

It seems, although Becca had a medical diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disability, her IEP identified her eligibility category for special education as a Speech Language Impairment. Once Erika began to understand Becca’s disability and the special education process better, Erika was able to work more effectively with the IEP team to meet Becca’s needs.

Just a few months later, Erika reached out to Raising Special kids again. However, it wasn’t Becca she was calling about. It was regarding her son Andrew, a second-grader with autism and ADHD. Andrew had a 504 Plan in place but Erika felt he needed additional supports and services. “This time, we walked through the process of getting Andrew tested for special education and then she helped me prepare for his first IEP.”

During the conversation, Erika mentioned her family was moving. The discussion turned to the difference between public schools and charter schools and the resources available for special education. Erika found the information invaluable. “She helped make our decision on where to move and which school to choose so much easier for our family. The public school our kids currently go to has been amazing with both of Andrew & Becca our kids with special needs!”

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