Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Parent to Parent: Parent to Parent of Miami
Parents of special needs kids face daily battles with everything from special care to their education. Seven's Lynn Martinez is here now with a look at a group of parents who are making a difference to those who desperately need a helping hand.
WSVN -- Justin was born 18 weeks early weighing only a pound and a half. He was so small he could fit in the palm of his mother's hand. He's seven now and struggles with developmental delays.
Mary Moulton: "He didn't begin to speak until he was about three and a half years old, so he wasn't really clearly audible till he was about four and a half through five years old and he still has some speech issues."
Justin needs occupational therapy and other special care. It wasn't long before mom Mary was overwhelmed.
Isabel Garcia: "We provide families with hope, help and support."
Mary got help from a group called Parent to Parent of Miami. It's a non-profit center for parents of children and adults with disabilities. They help parents with everything from day to day care to special education.
Mary Moulton: "It was almost for me like winning the lottery because finally I had somebody on my side that was willing to go and also be the advocate you know, for my child, so that he could excel in areas within the school system that would be positive or lucrative for him."
Executive director Isabel Garcia knows first hand how discouraged some parents feel. Her daughter Daniella was born with cerebral palsy 23 years ago.
Isabel Garcia: "At the beginning, most families are told that the children are not going to walk, not going to talk, not going to basically do very much, and their spirits are broken and they call here looking for someone that's going to listen."
Cindy Aucoin is one of those parents. Her 6-year-old son Justin has cerebral palsy.
Cindy Aucoin: "They give you the resources, they give you the ear to listen and they give you how you're supposed to deal with the next issue."
Now, they're helping Cindy and Justin form an individual education plan that will best help him in school. The nice thing about Parent to Parent's education and support specialists is they really know what parents are going through. Most have special needs kids of their own.
And that helps mom's like Mary realize there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Mary Moulton: "I'm really just at the beginning. Justin and I of our journey, educational journey, but I'm still somewhat more optimistic and more kind of steadfast because of Parent to Parent."
Lynn Martinez: "Parent to Parent of Miami is not affiliated with our show here they just happen to have a really good name. All services at the center are free of charge and provided in English, Spanish and Creole."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Parent to Parent of Miami
Dr. Valerie Goode