Parents of children with any type of disability may find useful information at a town hall meeting set for Saturday Aug. 13 from 1-4 p.m. at the Community Complex auditorium on Canal Street.
Families as Allies, the only family-run statewide organization for parents and caregivers of children with mental health challenges in Mississippi will host the forum for parents to express their concerns and issues.
Workshops will inform parents about their rights and their children’s rights and suggest strategies for how they can become effective advocates for their children.
Henry Moore of Families as Allies will lead the event. Moore said parents often don’t realize what services are available to their children, and sometimes the schools don’t know the right way to assist a student with a disability.
Moore is a family partner and youth coordinator for Families as Allies, and has over 20 years experience in nonprofit, education and mental health organizations. He has spent his career advocating for special needs children and children with disabilities.
“We found that families were telling us they were having trouble getting the information and help that they needed, or that they didn’t know what was expected of them at an IEP meeting,” Moore said.
The town hall sessions are open to any parent or caregiver with an interest in learning about these issues, but might be of particular interest to those who have a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD, Anxiety Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Depression, Development Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and other diagnoses.
Moore will also talk about and outline the IEP (Individualized Education Program) process and how parents and caregivers can be involved in that process.
Moore said he especially wants parent and families to come away from the town hall and workshop with an understanding of their rights, of their child’s rights as an American with a disability, of their child’s rights in the mental health system and of their rights at school, so that they can effectively advocate on behalf of their child.
Parents and caregivers can register for the Yazoo City event by going to the Families as Allies Facebook page or by going to faams.nationbuilder.com/town_hall_yazoo. They can also call the Families as Allies offices for more information, at 601-355-0915 or 800-833-9671.