Farmington parents boost special ed council
It was pure chance that put Angela Field and Michelle Albeck in the same session of a group called Partners in Policymaking. But the two Farmington residents have made the most of the meeting.
Field and Albeck both have children with special needs. They signed up for the Partners in Policymaking program to learn to better advocate for their children. They didn’t know each other before the classes, but once they learned they were both from Farmington, they started talking about what they could accomplish if they worked together.
Late last year, the pair started working with the Farmington School District to revive its special education advisory council. The council has been around for years, but parent participation has been limited. With Field and Albeck drumming up interest, though, the group has grown to 15 or 20 members since relaunching in January.
“I just think parents always need some sort of support and information,” Field said. “It’s nice to get together and know what’s going on in your district. We can help our kids and be aware of major changes.”
This first year of the council has been kind of a trial run. There has been a lot of planning for what the group will become. Now Field and Albeck want to find more parents to get involved.
“I think we have a lot of big goals,” Albeck said. “Now our big thing is … getting information on the website. Getting information out to the community.”
Field’s son was 6 months old when he was diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome, the result of mistreatment by a daycare provider.
There were at least two incidents. Field noticed symptoms after the first, but doctors dismissed them. The second time it happened, police were at the daycare when Field showed up to pick her son up.
Now 13, Michael has “pretty major cognitive delays,” Field said. He’s had surgeries to fix limbs that are not growing properly and is paralyzed on his left side.
Albeck has a son and a daughter who have both been diagnosed with nonketotic hyperglycinema, a rare condition that causes problems that can include lethargy, poor muscle tone and developmental delay, among other things.