Organized by: Kimberly Parker
10 years ago today life slapped me across the face. Hard. It was exactly 10 years ago that my little boy was discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit.
Looking back, I thank God I had no idea what was coming.
He was an unexpected pregnancy, one that wasn’t supposed to happen no matter how wanted. It was thrilling to feel him kicking and somersaulting in his little cocoon.
At 33 weeks, he stopped.
Ninety miles/hour down the highway wasn’t fast enough and his brain and organs and heart had already begun the process of dying. He was born still and blue, surrounded by technology to bring him back and terminology to explain the consequences- hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Acidosis. Intraventricular hemorrhage. Necrosis. Stroke.
I laugh at the person I was back then. I believed the biggest battle I faced was keeping him alive. I was wrong. The nurses and the doctors kept him alive. When he was handed over to me 10 years ago, I was charged with helping this extraordinary baby live, be present, and succeed in the ordinary world. And he has.
The Ian Project
“In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.” Brown v. Board of Education, (1954)
My son is succeeding because I seek out those professionals who have high expectations for him. Unlike some other children with developmental disabilities, he has never been hurt by a teacher, he has never been locked in a room alone. The year his education turned into babysitting, we bought a house in a different school zone. When informed of the possibility of physical restraints should he have an autistic meltdown (does this topic come up in parent teacher conferences with “regular” kids who have no behavior problems?) we moved him again, this time to a private school.
Other children are not so fortunate.
The Ian Project was developed to provide legal assistance to those families who want what I want for my son – a good education, safe from harm, one which provides the necessary programming to enable a child to lead a productive, successful life. Sadly, while there are federal and state laws addressing the appropriate public education of children with disabilities, it can be extremely costly to enforce these laws and parents are often unable to raise the funds to do so. Had I not had the benefit of a law degree (Temple Owl here!) I too would not have experienced much success in my quest for an appropriate education for Ian. Indeed, even we were forced out of public school when my activism on behalf of other families resulted in a threat of legal action against me –a legal action which I could not have afforded to defend.
Please consider a donation to The Ian Project. Funds raised will enable me to honor my son and his life by funding the legal costs of other families who need to use legal action to obtain the appropriate education for their children. One due process action can incur between $3,700.00-$8,200.00 in non reimbursable expenses, not including actual attorney fees. Your donation will fund these hard costs and assist families who hope to provide, through access to education, a successful life for their very own extraordinary baby. Just like mine.
Donations may be made payable to:
Exceptional Advocacy/The Ian Project
1005 Beau Terre Drive, Suite 312
Bentonville, Arkansas 72712