Position at OH: Board of Directors, Special Needs’ Parent Extraordinaire

Zodiac Sign: Gemini (THE best one)

Background: BA – University of Louisville; 15+ years of human resources background and pediatric and social advocacy; 10+ years as a special needs child’s mom to an extraordinary child. Several years of experience in ADA and IDEA, HR state and federal law and regulations, as well as intimate experiences with pediatric therapies related to physical, occupational, behavioral, and speech therapies. 

Why I’m passionate about OH:

I never realized the gap that existed for special needs children in daycare services until I had a special needs child of my own.  I had assumed that there were places that took care of ALL kids and I was truly astounded when I realized that there simply were not.  As I reached out to other special needs parents to find out where their kids went during the day, I quickly discovered that these kids didn’t have places to go that met their specialized need(s); and some just didn’t have any daycares to go to, period.  These children went to grandparents, relatives, friends; a parent often stayed at home due to lack of options.  Some children were qualified for medical daycare enrollment, but even those specialized daycares couldn’t meet the therapeutic needs of those with emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorders.  Other children that were “permitted” to enroll in typical daycares experienced severe frustrations of not being able to conform and, too often, emotional and painful rejections of being kicked out again and again for behavior that couldn’t be controlled by staff because they just weren’t equipped to handle non-typical children.  We’ve been kicked out of daycares due to delayed potty training, escaping a classroom (come on, this really is a talent), and head banging and throwing toys, to name a few.

My journey to find a solution led me through many laws, guidelines, and processes that were created for typical daycares, but that excluded my child and his related needs over and over again.  I not only wanted him to make it through the day successfully, but also to actually grow, develop, and learn, as typical kids do in daycares with programs designed to prepare them for success in Kindergarten.  Mine and Kaitlin’s paths crossed on this journey by introduction of a mutual, dear friend of both of ours.  And the rest, they say, is history!

Ask me about: My family, my dog, my friends, my love of nature and all living things (except for millipedes – seriously they’re not natural).  Love of organizing projects and ideas and ordering people around in order to accomplish great things; playing games on the PS4; reading; all things FOOD; and let me say love of nature, again, for effect.

Parting thoughts to you, the viewer: Be the change that you want to see.