By: Dominga Sequeira
We were concerned about my daughter, Andrea’s reading skills when she was in 2nd grade. We began to realize that she was falling behind her progression level from that of her peers. We realized her reading and comprehension skills were not improving and knew we had to do something.
For many years, I requested help for my daughter, as she was not showing progress. I began sounding like a broken record. The years with no support started to take effect on her mentally and she began withdrawing, becoming very quiet, and was losing sleep. At worst, she became anxious and started biting her nails. We knew it was because of the stress and tension she felt at school. Instead, her school promoted her to 3rd and then 4th grade. However, we knew an immediate intervention was necessary to help close the gap in her learning delay.
We were not getting the assistance we needed from the school. Her IEPs were not reflective of the situation she was in nor her grades. I sought help and was referred to Ms. Laura Nata at Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans (FHF).
She immediately made us aware that documentation is EVERYTHING. Without documentation, it is hard to make adjustments and demand assistance from a standardized system like the school system. She made us aware of our rights as parents to demand answers to our questions as well as the resources that are available to all parents to help assist students at home.
Thanks to Laura and FHF, we were able to develop a working plan to put all the resources available to ensure we can close in the gaps in Andrea’s education. This new plan will work to propel her forward in her learning experience. Before meeting with Laura, we thought bringing our concerns to the school would make a difference; Today we stand corrected that unless we document everything, stay on top of our concerns as notified to the school, and we demand the resources available to all students nationwide nothing will be done.
We are so grateful for Laura and FHF for helping give Andrea a fighting chance. Not only is she improving academically but she also qualified for the gifted and talented program due to her artistic gift. Andrea’s self-esteem and enthusiasm towards school are also positive, she has many friends, we finally get to see her smile, her nail-biting has stopped, and she is no longer showing her previous signs of anxiety.
We are excited for once and are seeing progress in her academics due to tutoring, the attention teachers have given to her learning style, how they welcome parent participation, and, overall, we are all a very happy family. We thank Ms. Nata, for we know this would not be possible and appreciate how she has continued to educate and guide us. We are also thankful for the existence of the parent resource center Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans.