Latino Families learn about the Special Education process

Charlotte, NC – A group of Latino parents had the opportunity to attend the free event titled: “How to navigate the Special Education process in North Carolina,” where they learned about the laws, programs, and benefits that children with disabilities who were born in the US can have.

Click here to see pictures of the event

The event, which was organized by MIRA USA, took place on Saturday, March 18th at the Main Library of Monroe in conjunction with the Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center (ECAC). 

Teresa Peña, who is an educator from ECAC, talked about the federal law IDEA, or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004; as well as the importance of knowing its beginnings so that the children can access these services and programs. 

“When a child is born in the United States, federal law states that they should be educated from 0 to 22 years, and should receive the necessary services and support for their unique needs”, Peña emphasized.

The educator focused on one of the principles of IDEA, called the Individualized Education Program (IEP), which a child with a disability has the right to have after an annual evaluation at school. 

“The IEP is the beginning of services for your child,”  said Peña.

After two hours filled with information, examples and real-life situations that parents of children with disabilities face, she gave room for questions and answers that served to clarify doubts and strengthen the knowledge acquired by the participants.

“I leave today with excellent information. I thought that I received the best information at my child’s school, but now I know that my child has many more needs in which the state can help with, including when they come into adulthood”, said Carmelo Ambris, father of a 15-year-old boy with Down Syndrome.

The workshop also offered childcare through the collaboration of various members of MIRA, or “miraistas,” who were in charge of taking care of and entertaining the children.

It is also worth mentioning that the Exceptional Children’s (EC) program of Union County public schools distributed the MIRA USA fliers of the event to the schools’ parents.

“This shows how valuable the information contained in the workshop is, which is our vision at MIRA to help the most vulnerable communities,” noted Martha Pulgarín, the local director of MIRA USA.