Being a parent of a child with special needs is not for the faint of heart and Angela Jeffreys learned many important life lessons while raising her daughter Alexandra.
Alexandra or “Alex” is a happy teenage girl who loves sports, bike riding, swimming, her family and friends. She also has Down syndrome. Her family has advocated passionately over the years for Alex to have the supports and services she needs to live to the fullest.
While Alex is involved the community and is a busy athlete, she also experiences challenges with sleep, behaviors, and emotional regulation. Angela shares that, now, “Alexandra is mostly living her best life,” and much of that is due to Alex’s fighting spirit and her devoted family who have taught Alex to never give up!
Angela took the advocacy skills she learned in raising a child with a disability and her passion for inclusion and put them to good use by getting involved in the disability community. She loves to attend conferences and take RSK trainings, and she proudly graduated from the Partners in Leadership program in 2018. Angela turned to Raising Special Kids for help and guidance as she navigated special education for Alex. “I got to a point in Alex’s schooling where I needed to support the school and teachers with some ideas on how to include Alex in the curriculum,” Angela shared. “I loved having Raising Special Kids as a resource to call! I was able to speak to a Family Support Specialist who gave me several helpful ideas and shared valuable resources to develop my own knowledge. I loved being able to bounce ideas off her and brainstorm together on different options that could help both Alex and her teacher.” Angela also used Raising Special Kids for assistance with her son Jack. Jack has attention deficit disorder, and she gleaned helpful information and resources about 504 plans and accommodations from the family support team. She is truly grateful for Raising Special Kids and the ongoing assistance it provided her family.
“Raising Special Kids was a shining light that existed in a dark place of our journey,” Angela says. “The knowledgeable RSK staff and parent leaders who impart their wisdom, knowledge and resources have helped us when we felt there was nowhere else to turn.” Because of the support she has received over the years, Angela was inspired to volunteer as a Parent Leader with Raising Special Kids, mentoring other parents and providing support as they travel on their journeys with their children. She has found this extremely fulfilling and is grateful to give back and help other parents. Angela adds, “In fact, I do love this organization so much and am honored to be involved!”