By: Chris Roe
As a family with two special needs children trying to navigate special education services, it was a bright light to find Families Helping Families of Jefferson. Their support and assistance was key to successfully navigating the IEP process for our sons, both of whom have Autism.
This fall, both started PK4 at a new school in a fully inclusive classroom. While we were excited about this opportunity, we realized this would be a major transition that would require significant changes to both boys’ IEPs. FHFJ was there to help. They didn’t just send us a link to a bunch of resources; but instead, offered a very personal service and immediately brought us in for a consultation. Their staff was extremely knowledgeable and helpful and provided the expertise and insight our family needed to not just review both boys’ IEPs, but made detailed suggestions for their improvements.
In addition, they pointed out a major new enhancement in the IEP process – the development of a Communications Plan for the student. This is something that we were unaware of and was not offered by our school – until we requested it. We quickly found out through the help of FHFJ, the new IEP feature holds the promise to bring together the family, school, and other service providers to better understand a student’s unique communications challenges and needs so that everyone is on the same page. Without this help, there would have been a key link missing for our boys to access the classroom. This communications plan will help ensure our school better understands our children’s needs and is better equipped to serve them.
We successfully completed both boys’ IEP’s and feel great about the level of services they will be receiving going forward. This is the second year that we have reached out to FHFJ and they have responded without hesitation. Last year, as a new family to the area they provided us critical information about the complicated school system and enrollment process for special needs children.
Families Helping Families of Jefferson is an invaluable resource to families like ours who are seeking ways to better advocate for our children to make sure that they reach their full potential but may feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the IEP process and special education more broadly. They are a comforting hand filled with a wealth of knowledge that gives us the security to know that our children will have a brighter path
to achieving their full potential.