By Ashley Conroy - email
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Building Partnerships Working Together held their second annual conference Wednesday for parents who have children with disabilities.
Debra Wertz is a parent who has a child with a mental illness. Wertz said she learned a lot from this conference and wishes this information would have been available to her a long time ago.
"And, I had to do a lot of research and reading to find out what I needed to do," said Wertz.
Professional educator and keynote speaker Kathy Chase Young wants to help empower parents so they don't feel alone.
"Parents are going through the same struggles and very often they feel isolated," Young said.
Another parent, Oleta Maury, said even though her child is 17 with a disability, she's still learned a valuable lesson.
"Patience. A whole lot of patience and willing to talk. Willing to tell your story," said Maury.
Wertz said she can relate to parents who feel isolated. She said the public school her son attended turned their back when they wanted to put him in an alternative school.
"The school was going to put my son in the alternative school, and I knew that he didn't need punishment. He needed treatment," said Wertz.
Wertz ended up taking her son out of the public school system and enrolled him in a school called CARES, designed to help children with special needs. She said her son is now doing fine and is in the process of earning his GED.
As for Young, she felt most educators want what's best, but sometimes, she said it's hard for them to understand if they've never personally gone through it.
"They've either never personally been impacted, or they just don't understand the value of every single child," said Young.
This conference was federally funded through grants and sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Education.
©2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.