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Wayra’s Story

Five-year-old Wayra is cognitively gifted and also has significant impairments in speech and language. Wayra was classified as a student with a disability at age three, and though her Individualized Education Program (IEP) mandated bilingual speech therapy to address her communication delays, she went without these services for months at a time in both preschool and kindergarten. Wayra’s mother repeatedly expressed concerns about her daughter’s lack of progress; not only did Wayra continue to struggle with speech and language in both English and Spanish, but her difficulties expressing herself verbally were hurting her self-esteem and interfering with her social development and ability to make friends. Halfway through Wayra’s kindergarten year–after the school suggested she might need to be held back because she was so far behind her peers, but failed to offer any additional services or supports to help her catch up–Wayra’s mother reached out to Advocates for Children for assistance. 

AFC first secured a comprehensive evaluation to better understand Wayra’s unique learning needs. The evaluation determined that Wayra had a language-based learning disability, was performing far below her cognitive capacity due to a lack of appropriate educational services, and needed a small, specialized school program in order to make academic progress, especially in reading and writing. We then worked with Wayra’s mother to identify a new school, successfully advocating at an IEP meeting this past summer for placement in a non-public school with expertise in teaching students with disabilities like Wayra’s. Wayra started at her new school in September and is making strides now that she has the support she needs to learn!