By: Shanida Mathieu
I would like to introduce you to Ms. Donnis Osbey and her son Jeremiah. Jeremiah is a fourth grade student at Lawrence D Crocker College Prep Charter School in New Orleans. By looking at the smile on their faces one couldn’t, nor may want to, imagine what this family has gone through in order to exhale. In the midst of the chaos which has affected many families of children with disabilities in Orleans parish, as they seek “that” one school which can truly deliver and follow through with providing the services listed on their child’s Individualized Education Plan as stated in IDEA, Ms. Osbey stated, “It felt like we were in the midst of another hurricane.”
Jeremiah has a diagnosis of Autism and is high functioning. He is fully included in the general education setting with support from his tutor through Applied Behavior Analysis. Ms. Osbey contacted Families Helping Families because she wanted to learn more about her parental rights while navigating through the special education process. Mom stated that this has been a tumultuous school year because no one understood and/or offered any additional supports for him at his previous school. Jeremiah spent more time outside of his educational environment due to behaviors which are due to him having Autism. As a single parent, she shared that she felt alone and ignored when seeking additional supports and services for her son until a mutual friend referred her to Families Helping Families.
She has had endless guidance and training via telephone and by accommodating her needs of not having a vehicle to meet. Ms. Osbey shared that she is thankful and appreciative of the endless support and collaboration received among Families Helping Families, and these other community groups: Stand Up for Each Other, a Tulane Education Law Organization and Butterfly Effects.
Jeremiah is excited and enjoying his new school and Ms. Osbey stated that she has never had an IEP meeting whereas the special education coordinator was so thorough; making sure that she understood and offering additional supports for him. As an advocate, I was very impressed by the overwhelming assistance we three agencies had received that day since many families have shared their unhappiness of their children not receiving the proper services within charter schools.
Ms. Osbey and her son, Jeremiah are forever thankful for the enduring guidance and support she has received from Families Helping Families.
If you are having problems with your child’s IEP being implemented or need training for your rights, call Families Helping Families at 504.888.9111.