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Naomi’s Story

5-year-old Naomi had been struggling in kindergarten, and her family was hopeful she would soon begin receiving special education supports. But when schools closed in March, her mother was surprised to find that she was being asked to withdraw her request for extra help.  

Early this year, Naomi’s family noticed that she was having a difficult time in kindergarten. “I noticed Naomi’s smile was fading when I talked to her about school,” remembers Naomi’s grandmother, Doris. “We noticed Naomi could not focus, she had problems with words and started getting very frustrated when she could not complete a task.” When Naomi’s mother reached out to the school for help, they agreed to conduct a special education evaluation and discuss the results at a March meeting.  Rather than conduct the meeting virtually once schools closed as a result of the pandemic,  however, Naomi’s school asked her mother to withdraw her request for a meeting and instead wait until school buildings reopened to resume the process  of developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP). When Naomi’s mother insisted her daughter needed help right away, the school tried to close the request, claiming that they had been unable to contact her while she was working long shifts during the pandemic as a first responder.

Concerned that the school was dismissing their concerns about Naomi’s academic needs, Naomi’s grandmother contacted AFC’s Helpline. Our education specialists successfully advocated for the DOE to reopen Naomi’s case and reconsider her need for additional educational support. We also contacted an outside psychologist for a second opinion on the DOE’s initial evaluation and arranged for the psychologist to participate in the IEP meeting and advocate for Naomi’s educational needs.

We are thrilled to report that after AFC’s intervention, the school finally created a plan to provide Naomi with the services and supports she needs to continue learning remotely during the pandemic and be successful when schools reopen.

Words cannot express the gratitude and joy Advocates for Children has brought to my family., We are so grateful for all the assistance AFC has provided to us in helping us get an IEP for Naomi, and we know that given all the right tools she will no longer be limited thanks to your help. This assistance for Naomi will help change her life and put her on the right track in her schoolwork, so she can reach her full potential and work towards performing at grade level or beyond it.”

Doris, Naomi’s grandmother