Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mothers support parents of special-needs children

When Kaitlyn Pierce was 8 years old, she was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia. Her mother, Nikki Pierce, didn't know what to do.

She researched federal and Florida laws pertaining to special-needs students so she could learn what her child's rights were and how to ask for them.

Kaitlyn is now 9 and in fourth grade at Chocachatti Elementary School. She uses technology to help her with her writing, which is affected by dysgraphia. Pierce said it wasn't until she educated herself to learn how to ask that her daughter was able to get what she needed.

Stacy Walsh is a parent with a son, Gavin, 9, who has Asperger's syndrome, a mild type of autism. He's a fourth-grader at Challenger K8.

She was organizing an autism awareness walk and contacted Pierce. "After that we just kind of clicked. Stacy and I got involved together at the end of the last school year," Pierce said.

Both women now coordinate the Special Students of Hernando Support Group. She and Walsh work with the Hernando County School Board as a community partner with the exceptional student education department.

"Our goal is to educate parents on the proper procedures to get what is appropriate for them," Pierce said.

Nikki Pierce lives in Spring Hill with her husband, Todd, a firefighter; Kaitlyn; and Kyle, an 8-year-old Chocachatti third-grader.

Stacy Walsh lives in Brooksville with her husband, Harry, who works in communications; Gavin; and Savanna, 11, a sixth-grader at Challenger K8.

When she started, Pierce formed the Dyslexia and Related Learning Differences Support Group. She realized, though, that parents of children with all kinds of special needs had to deal with the same issues, so the group was changed to Special Students of Hernando Support Group.

Pierce and Welsh have a Web site with contact information, related links, event notices and other information.

"We are here to help support and educate parents on their student's (child's) rights in the educational system. We are not attorneys — we are parents helping parents. We are all at various stages in our children's educational career and are willing to help other parents who may feel 'lost in the system,' " Pierce and Walsh say on their site, www.specialstudentsofhernando.com.

Nikki Pierce can be reached at [email protected] and at (352) 584-5512. Stacy Walsh is at [email protected] and (352) 232-1239.

They said they are happy to help any parent, caregiver or educator with questions. Both are volunteers.

"The primary focus of Special Students of Hernando is education of the Federal Special Education laws (IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504: Civil Rights Law, and similar). We want to help parents form a productive relationship with their child's school while understanding the correct process and procedures under the law. We want to see children obtain the most appropriate education, regardless of their disabilities or learning differences," the women state on their site.

The women are advertising a January conference sponsored by Special Students of Hernando and the Hernando County School Board Exceptional Student Education Department.

>>Fast facts

Weightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy

A two-day conference for parents, educators, advocates, attorneys and professionals

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 16-17, 2009, GlenLakes Country Club, Weeki Wachee.

For information, go to www.specialstudentsofhernando.com.

Mothers support parents of special-needs children 08/27/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 31, 2008 9:19am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Double your fun: Twitter's testing a 280-character limit for tweets

    News

    Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey last year made a definitive announcement about the company's famous 140-character count amid rumors that the firm would substantially relax the limit. "It's staying," Dorsey told the "Today" show's Matt Lauer. "It's a good constraint for us."

    In this 2013, file photo, the Twitter logo appears on an updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. [AP photo]
  2. Dead woman with sun tattoo found near elementary school

    News

    TAMPA --- She had a tattoo of a sun on her abdomen, with the words "The World is Mine."

  3. CentCom shares complexities of job with Tampa Rotarians

    Macdill

    TAMPA — As the commander of U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Joseph Votel has one of the world's most challenging to-do lists.

    Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, tells Tampa Rotarians about the complexities of the region he oversees. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Times staff]
  4. Rick Baker debuts new campaign ad to woo younger voters

    Blogs

    Former mayor Rick Baker's campaign unveiled a reboot of sorts Tuesday with the debut of a new TV ad.

    In a new ad, former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker surprises a group of people in a restaurant who are talking about his accomplishments. He says, "You ain't seen nothing yet."
  5. Editorial: DOT listens, adjusts on I-275 plans in Tampa

    Editorials

    Florida continues to improve its plan for modernizing the interstate system in Tampa Bay. The Florida Department of Transportation has unveiled four new options for rebuilding I-275 near downtown Tampa, and some of them would ditch previous plans for toll lanes downtown while keeping express lanes for faster, …

    State officials are re-evaluating parts of I-4 and I-275 in Tampa as part of a supplemental environmental impact study, or SEIS.