By Anna Wolfe | Jackson Free Press | March 3, 2015
|Rep. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, plans to introduce an alternative to the voucher through an amendment that would eliminate the voucher and create an Office of Special Needs Counsel. Photo courtesy Anna Wolfe
When the parents of 10-year-old Flannery Smith noticed their daughter's learning difficulty, they took immediate action.
Through legal help from the Mississippi Center for Justice, the family compelled the school district to provide services including diagnoses and a special computer program. Still, it took nearly four years to get the services she needs from Jackson Public Schools to overcome her central auditory processing disorder.
Randy Smith, Flannery's father and the chairman of the Creative Writing Department at Belhaven University, said his daughter lost one to two grade levels in the time the family sought help for her. Now, she is now making all As and Bs, he said.
"Things turned around for us," Smith said at the Capitol this morning. "Once we got legal representation, we were able to get JPS at the table. The district came; they worked with us. Our daughter was identified. She was assessed. We found out what her needs were. We identified her disabilities, and we got her the appropriate help."
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