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Zio's Story

Zio's Story

zio's dad, zio jr, and michera brooks
Zio (center) with his father and his AFC attorney, Michera Brooks, at AFC's 2013 Spring Benefit

For years, it was difficult to send my son to school every day knowing that he was struggling to make friends and failing to make academic progress. For the most part, the schools that he attended used a "one size fits all" approach to educate their students, including students with special needs. Over 20 students, no less than 21 and no more than 28, attended classes together with my son at all times. Teachers were overwhelmed and had little to no time for small group or differentiated instruction. Imagine a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder coping with these circumstances. It was a horrible experience for my son and for my family altogether.

Each school year I often wondered when will things improve? As soon as I contacted them two years ago, Advocates for Children of New York provided immediate guidance and support. My 12-year-old had attended four schools in six years. Thanks to Advocates for Children, he now attends a school where he discovered a passion for learning after years of frustrating school experiences. His learning style and interests have been taken into consideration when teachers and service providers plan instruction and interventions. They have identified effective strategies to encourage and promote his learning and make his school day both fun and meaningful.  My son now looks forward to his school day and I do too. It has also been a pleasure to attend Parent-Teacher Conferences at his current school.

My son is quite popular at school and is often invited to go on play dates with peers. He has many friends and has learned ways to maintain and strengthen his friendships. Academically, I must proudly say that I am impressed with his overall performance.

Now I wonder, what would I do without the support of Advocates for Children of New York? Are there other organizations in New York City with a mission similar to the mission of Advocates for Children? I do not know of any and was unable to locate one when I desperately needed support. The handful of organizations that I reached out to for help specialized in other areas but not in special education advocacy. AFC truly made the difference in our lives, and I am quite sure they have done the same for many other families. Their name speaks for itself. They are truly advocates for the children of New York City.