My son is now 32 years old, and has Down Syndrome. It was really important that our son remain in our home school district. By participating in the Partners program, I learned how to facilitate discussions on what we wanted for our son. There was a speaker that taught us that you can influence the people you sit by, so I would always go sit by the Superintendent. Sometimes the meetings with the school district were very emotional and, while trying to integrate my son into the classroom, we often butted heads with teachers. But many realized that they could do more than they thought and realized they had more to offer.
Eric’s thirteen years at school were very good and the kids accepted him and he would go to sporting events. Even into high school, when the gap was getting pretty wide in some subjects, the integration specialist came and helped him and the teachers.
We also had sessions about meeting with legislators and how to get your message across, so that was very important. It was also fun to get together with other parents with kids with disabilities. The camaraderie was fun. I think Partners in Policymaking was a good thing… I am just thankful that my son is healthy and happy and very independent.
—Lorie Zoeller, Parent