Join Us For Our Parent Support Panel Event
Having a support system of parents who are facing or have faced similar issues is such an important asset to have in the community! The focus of Carolina Therapy Connection’s parent support panel is to provide a safe space for families to ask questions to a group of panelist who have experience with a variety of special needs that a child may have, knowledge of relevant resources available to parents, and expertise in many areas of childhood development.
When is the parent support panel and how do I sign up?
The event will be held at Carolina Therapy Connection’s Greenville clinic location on Monday, January 23rd from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM. Although the event welcomes in-person guests, we will have virtual option to attend the support panel via zoom link. Signing up is easy! Click the link below to access the short form. We can’t wait to see you there!
Who can I expect to see on the parent support panel?
Lisa Jordan is an artist and has a business “Lisa Jordan Faux and More, LLC.” She has been in business since 1993 and offers faux finishes to concrete, walls, floors, ceilings, furniture refinishing, murals, canvas paintings and so much more. She has retail management experience with floor and window merchandising. Lisa wrote a book entitled “How to Merchandise to Sell” for her employer and was an assistant buyer for 7 departments in 7 store locations.. She also served as the Eastern NC sales director reporting to the VP of the company for many wireless locations. Additionally, she works part time for Greenville Parks and Recreation.
Lisa has initiated support groups to include the following: The Exceptional Baseball League, Giggle Gang, Halloween parade for special needs population, Common Ground Playground at Elm St., Art painting classes in her home, Special Needs Summer Camps, Creative Oasis at the Drew Steele Center, Dinner Club at the Drew Steele Center, Cultural Arts Day for Amputees at the Jaycee Park, Opened a chapter of Young Life Division of Capernaum, Beyond Capernaum for Adults, Aktion Club Service League ( A Division of Kiwanis Club), Co-planner for “Prom Night at Covenant” for ages 14 and older, Art and Soul for Adult Cancer Survivors, Birthday Club with painted birthday cards for her Special Needs friends, Southern Fig (to be resumed in 2023), penpals offered 3 times per year. Lisa is on the boards of many of these initiatives and yearly is a guest speaker of ECU Recreational Therapy classrooms as well as the ECU Fashion Merchandising classrooms where she shares her experiences in the field and gathers volunteers and awareness to participate in community events with our special populations. Lisa is the 2022 Recipient of the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for North Carolina. She painted all the murals in the Carolina Therapy Connection Greenville and New Bern Clinics. Lisa is a parent of a severe and profound special needs child with the following diagnoses: Intractable Lennox Gastaut Syndrome without Status epilepticus, epilepsy, microcephaly, cerebral palsy, Severe MR, visually impaired, nonverbal and non-mobile
Katie is currently a resource and referral specialist with Greenville TEACCH. TEACCH stands for the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped Children method and is a program through UNC School of Medicine. It was founded in 1972 and provides evaluations for Autism. It also provides intervention services for individuals with Autism throughout their lifespan. Katie served as an Autism Resource Specialist for the Autism Society for 8 years. She is a mother of 5 daughters, four of which have Autism.
I am a Special needs Homeschool Mom. I have 5 boys in total, 2 stepsons and 3 biological. 2 of my 5 are Autistic. I was born in Massachusetts, raised in New Hampshire, and moved to Stantonsburg, NC almost 8 years ago. My family has been clients of Carolina Therapy Connection since 2015.
My husband Jason and I live on the outskirts of Greene County with our 3 boys; Gage 12, Bentley 9, and Mason 5. We are an avid animal loving family with our own “zoo” of sorts, currently including; 3 dogs, 3 cats, 6 ducks and countless rescues/fosters throughout the years. I have a very diverse household, and educationally is no exception! I homeschool Gage & Bentley, since 2019, and Mason currently attends Greene County Public schools.
Our journey started when our oldest Gage, was 2, and started showing some difficulty with motor skills, concerning behavior, and age appropriate speech. We started out like any parents would, and sought help from Birth-3 Services in NH. Gage showed marked deficits, but not “enough” for services. So we enrolled him in public school as soon as we could to jumpstart services and get an IEP. For our son Bentley, he had some obvious physical delays around age 1, and was accepted into Birth-3 NH for physical therapy. Once we moved to NC, we found Carolina Therapy Connection. Gage & Bentley went weekly & continued to develop the skills needed for independence and to help them thrive in life and school. CTC was a Godsend to stay the least. Not only did they help make amazing strides for our boys, but were there for us when we needed additional resources, a listening ear & sometimes even a safe place to cry in the midst of the struggles. CTC became our home base.
For years to come we were told by Dr’s that they “saw” the problem areas but that despite checking all the boxes, Gage was not on the spectrum, and to just keep treating the issues. I had to continue to get him everything he needed in school on his IEP, and with private therapy, all without a diagnosis to help qualify for these services. Without a proper diagnosis we lacked the tools to get appropriate services. It wasn’t until Gage was almost 10 that he was finally “seen” and received his diagnosis. Up until then, I had managed to do all the fighting for what he needed without a diagnosis. Success in this was never easy. Gage actually LOST his IEP’s two different times due to the “red tape” surrounding special needs qualifications not meeting criteria. Much to the dismay of myself AND his teachers, who themselves wrote strongly worded letters to the IEP committees.
Bentley’s autism diagnosis came a lot easier, sadly to say, because a lot of his issues were more readily visible in behaviors once we sought an evaluation. Bentley’s first PT, Karen Barrows, was the beginning of my growth as an effective advocate for my children. She pushed me to stick with my gut, and ask for the evaluations, and push the schools to help. Many more people helped along the way such as EC teachers, teachers, OT’s, even principals, and other parents. I always had the passion to do right for my kids, but I lacked the “know how” to navigate all the things involved in this type of parenthood. Such as pushing for the proper evaluations from doctors, navigating IEP meetings, my rights, and my child’s rights medically & educationally. It was a learning curve all the way.
In 2018, Gage was still struggling HARD in school. He was in 3rd grade but somehow despite all the extra help in school with one on one, OT, speech & private therapy, he was still performing well below grade level. Emotionally he was SPENT. He knew in the schools eyes, he was failing, and it broke him. At that time homeschooling my kids was NEVER a thought that crossed mind, I was an active SAH Mom, but not a teacher! Then I met an amazing group of special needs Mom’s at our karate dojo, who happened to also homeschool. When sharing my struggles with them, they suggested it could be an option. After telling them they were crazy, and talking it to death, they just made it make sense! And they supported me 100%. So after some thorough research and guidance from various people, I found even more resources for school choice & homeschooling special needs kids. I found Grants from the state, and some services that the Public school would still provide. In January 2019, we dove head first into homeschooling with Gage & Bentley, and haven’t looked back! It’s been a new battle yet again. More to adapt to, but I have found my way using my many resources, and learning my new rights as a homeschool mom, with a different kind of IEP. But most importantly, my kids and I are HAPPY.
Karen Barrows was the first of MANY people to get in my corner, build me up, and show me the way to take charge in advocating for my boys. We all know it takes a village, but in my experience, it takes a “Random Village”! Resources are everywhere, in everyone, we just have to be open to looking. I’m thrilled to be part of this Parent Support Panel, because if I can help even one other family find their village, and not have to struggle as much as the last one, it will be a success in my book.
Donna Beckmann has been involved in the Down syndrome community since the birth of her son in November 2000. She is the Advocacy and Outreach Director for the North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance working on local, state, and national initiatives benefiting people with Down syndrome and other Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Donna has established relationships across the disability spectrum. She can call on state legislators to act as a reference or have her school district’s Exceptional Children’s Program administrators involved in her son’s IEP process. She was the driving force in the creation of Down syndrome specific webpages for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service’s website. In addition to a degree in Political Science, Donna has completed North Carolina’s Partners in Policymaking and was a Fellow at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities LEND – Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Program.
Ava Beck Lund
Ava Beck Lund is a mother of three boys, two of them have Autism, ADHD, and IDD. They are ages are 19,18,16. Her last two have Autism. She has also previously worked with children and adults on the spectrum.