By: Victoria and Kayley Nguyen
My name is Victoria Nguyen a parent of two sons and a daughter. My daughter, Kayley, is diagnosed with epilepsy but it wasn’t until a couple of months after she was born that we found out. We started noticing that she wasn’t developing like other typical babies. Her seizures had caused her to be developmentally delayed.
At 4 ½ years of age, her Neurologist recommended that we travel out of state for her to have a special procedure done to help control her seizures. She attended a private school for two years after her surgery and was slowly learning but struggled a lot. I had meetings with the school to see what could be done to help her and they said there was nothing that they can do. We were referred to a psychologist at Children’s Hospital to get her evaluated.
The psychologist had suggested I take Kayley out of the private school and place her in a public school setting. I did not quite understand what the difference was so she escorted me to see Ms. Thuy Nguyen at the CSHS Family Resource Center located at Children’s Hospital. Ms. Thuy is the Parent Liaison for FHF of Jefferson and a parent of a young adult with special needs. She also speaks Vietnamese so that helped out a lot too. Whatever information I did not understand, she explained it in Vietnamese. She explained and provided me with information on FAPE and Special Education Rights (504 Accommodations and IDEA). I understand why public schools should have to provide accommodations and other related services, such as speech and occupational therapy, in the school setting which my daughter needs that private schools do not have to provide. She also informed me that Kayley could still keep receiving therapy at LSU. She taught me skills to advocate for my child and provided me with great resources.
Kayley is now attending a charter school in New Orleans East and is doing very well. She now knows her alphabets, can read and write, as well as learning to make friends which she wasn’t doing before. She now understands and can follow instructions better. She has great memory skills but still has a hard time focusing on things. She participates in the children’s activities at our church. Whenever I have questions or concerns I still contact Ms. Thuy for support and guidance. Thanks to staff of FHF of Jefferson.