No one is a better advocate for your child than YOU! Always remember that no matter how hard or long of a process it is... You're fighting for your child's education and no one can fault you for that. Some of you know the struggles we have had with making sure our daughter Ariah not only receives the right services for her to be successful, but also how they are being executed on a consistent basis to make her thrive with her education.
It's been quite a long road. I know there are many parents that are dealing with this constantly as well for their children. We've had our daughter in an IEP since she was 3 years old. We did early intervention at 19 months old. Ariah was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia (which is a severe speech delay) at age 2. We received services through child find until she turned 3 years old. Once a child turns 3 you can put them in a school system and we felt like that would be the best choice for her to receive her speech therapy before entering Kindergarten. As a family we knew she needed more and we decided to seek outside services in addition. The services included a Childhood Apraxia Specialist through GBMC hospital. That specialist was a miracle worker and Ariah came out of there 6 months later talking. She went to occupational therapy through Mt. Washington, private speech, private tutoring and therapy every Friday for 2 1/2 years before entering Kindergarten. We had outside testing and evaluations done multiple times through Trellis Services and Mt. Washington Children's Hospital. Just to give you an idea of the road we have been on, Ariah is now 9 going into 4th grade this Fall. She has been diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia, ADHD and Autism (Aspergers)
Today was a big day for our daughter's education. We recently hired an advocate and lawyer to move this process along in more of a timely manner. Honestly, in our opinion it shouldn't have needed to get to this point, but they're listening now. We also had a person from the Special Education department of Harford County attend this meeting and we received really promising changes for our daughter's IEP to be implemented so she can be successful with her education moving forward. Obviously, we would have preferred this to have been taken care of much sooner, but we are grateful to make some headway.
The past couple of years fighting for our daughter's education has been beyond frustrating, but we know in our hearts God has a plan for us. He gave us this special little girl because he knew we would take care of her and encourage her to be brilliant. She sure does know how to keep us on our toes, but we wouldn't change it because she has made us the parents we are today. I'm so grateful to be Ariah's Mom and would do anything for my daughters just like you would for your children. Things need to change in our Educational system. There are too many children falling through the cracks and not getting the proper education they deserve. We are setting them up for failure. As you know Children's early development in education is so important. It's the foundation of their schooling. We don't want to ruin their self-esteem and have this carry on into their future. We can avoid these setbacks if things are being implemented properly in the beginning.
As so many of us thought, the education system in Harford County Public Schools was up there along the lines with Howard and Montgomery Counties. Unfortunately, that isn't the case and we need to do better. I wrote this in hopes to make more parents aware and to help other parents that are going through struggles with their child's education. Please know you are not alone. We as a Community need to work together to fix the system. In the end it's honestly hurting everyone and unfortunately, the ones that are suffering the most are Our Children...Our Future.
Thank you to all the teachers and special educators that have gone above and beyond for our children. You know who you are and we're so grateful for you.