Our main mission at Warrior Hearted Special Children’s Foundation is to sponsor via donations an educational workshop to families of special needs children. We do this with our Advocate Boot Camp program that we offer periodically (when our interest list reaches 12) at our site in Long Beach, California.
Within different segments of society, individuals who face physical, mental or emotional challenges may qualify for special treatment or benefits. In most instances, the label of “special needs” applies to mental or physical disabilities or circumstances that create an exceptional situation requiring individualized education programs, physical accessibility or primary care requirements.
Children who suffer from a physical disability are considered “special needs,” and public schools must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations in order to provide a safe physical environment for the child. In addition, children who demonstrate an emotional, behavioral or mental disability may qualify for an individual education plan (IEP) that provides specialized educational instruction, customized to the child’s own needs.
However, there is a large gap between what the schools are required to provide these children and what the child needs to thrive. Obtaining services for special needs children is a battle. Whether it is fighting with insurance companies, school districts, or regional centers; it’s a struggle. We want to arm parents with the skills necessary to effectively fight for their special needs child. That is why we allocate about seventy percent of our total time with our Boot Camps.
Our Advocate Boot Camps are primarily led by volunteering professionals who have experience in dealing with the school districts of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. These professionals are active advocates, special education teachers, and attorneys who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences to help parents understand:
- An overview of basic rights and protections at an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting
- Strategies and how to make laws that affect special needs children work for their child
- Effective advocacy skills to positively advocate for children, strengthen the relationships between parents and service agencies, and help create the appropriate IEP program
- An overview of Assessment Process and determining appropriate services and placement options
- The need for informed decisions and where to get help
We believe that an informed parent can be the best advocate for their own child. The information they receive at our Boot Camp can make all the difference to the life of their child. Getting their child placed in the proper class with the right support can help a child thrive, but it does not just happen. Parents have to fight for it.
We invest our remaining efforts in building relationships with social service organizations, hospitals, camps, and schools caring for the developmentally disabled children and others with special needs. Although there are no immediate plans with any of these entities, we would like to partner with them to develop novel and innovative programs that would profoundly impact special children and help improve their daily lives and educational options.
Many of our children come from communities that cannot afford the one-to-one specialized care and expensive equipment necessary for them to flourish. We will provide funding through donations and future collaborative grants that make it possible to provide special needs programs for educationally, emotionally, and physically challenged children.