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A Parent’s Perspective on Special Needs and Advocacy

Sherry Smith provides a parent’s perspective on the hardships facing families attempting to navigate special needs and IDEA. Sherry’s story became nationally recognized when the school her special needs son attended charged a $77,000 fee for the release of email information regarding placement services.

Needless to say, the charge was an attempt to stonewall the process, and Sherry Smith and her family eventually won a court decision giving access to the emails. Sherry’s story became an important advocacy focal piece highlighting the difficulties and unfair treatment of special needs families by a bureaucracy that had lost touch with the human element as it increasingly became bound by legality.

Understanding IDEA took Sherry’s life over as she attempted to navigate the options and avenues for her son’s welfare. Sherry understands that many parents do not have the same ability to dedicate time to special needs solutions and feels very strongly that advocacy should never be overlooked. There aren’t enough advocates, according to Sherry, to give hands on help to the growing number of families with special needs children.

It’s a lonely journey as parents realize that in many respects they are on their own until some form of sweeping change can take place.

Readings of Interest

Mother charged $77,000 from school for access to emails involving son

The mother who is an advocate for children with autism

The Joys and Challenges of Being a Parent With Autism

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