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Success Story

Success Story: Parent formulates transition plan, thanks to Parent Network

By November 30, 2020November 22nd, 2021No Comments

Late in her junior year of high school, Julie’s daughter was diagnosed with multiple learning disabilities.

These disabilities had been present her daughter’s entire life, but it was only when she started to greatly struggle with pre-college school work that her mother decided to have her tested.

She had an “odd” mixture of feelings after the diagnosis – disheartenment and relief simultaneously.

Soon after her daughter’s in-school learning was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communication with Julie’s daughter’s newly formed school support team also came to a halt.

“We were left floundering.  My daughter muddled through online learning as best she could, but anxiety began to rise,” she said. We didn’t know anyone who had her disabilities to seek advice from, and the pandemic kept school resources closed through her first several weeks of senior year”

Friends and family began to ask Julie’s daughter “what she was going to do after high school” and she had no direction.

Her daughter’s performance in school grew challenging and job skills were difficult to grasp. Her daughter began to lose hope for a meaningful future.

But in late September, a Google search brought Julie to Parent Network WNY.

“[Parent Network’s] digital event calendar happened to list a transition out-of-high school Zoom event occurring the very day we found their website.  It was a blessing!” she said. “We were able to attend the web event, meet other parents and teens, and hear questions that were useful to think about for planning to transition.”

Julie described the webinar facilitator, Parent Network’s Transition Coordinator Tonia Weichmann, as “down-to-earth and extremely knowledgeable.”

Following the webinar, Julie continued to reach out to Tonia for support.

“I cannot say enough good things about the depth of disability understanding Tonia had, and her insight into how my family was feeling and how my daughter was processing things,” Julie said. “Tonia’s thorough understanding of community resources empowered and encouraged us.  She explained things so easily!

Tonia also referred Julie to a number of local agencies that also provided Julie with support.

“My daughter has made excellent allies in helping her formulate and implement a transition plan. She is feeling quite good about herself and optimistic about the future,” she said. “I highly recommend Parent Network of WNY to other parents – not only a place to learn about programs and agencies targeted to help with specific needs, but also as a great source of emotional support.

Julie says Parent Network is the embodiment of the phrase “knowledge battles fear and being understood bolsters hope! Thank you Parent Network of WNY – our life changed for the better the day we connected with you.”