STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
BURNET — The Rev. Donna Shaw of Weakday Ministries couldn’t help but notice the hurdles facing a family close to hers who has a mentally challenged child. Families with special-needs children often feel like they have to run the gauntlet when it comes to their education.
“It pains me to see, a lot of times, they don’t get the answers or who to turn to to gain as much knowledge as they can,” Shaw said of her friends. “You want to help them out and provide them that help to improve their quality of life.”
That compelled the reverend to call special education attorney and personal friend Courtenay Euton of San Antonio about the possibility of the lawyer leading a program for families in similar situations on fording these obstacles.
As a result, Weakday Ministries is hosting a “Rights of Students with Disabilities” program at 6 p.m. Monday, May 14, at the organization’s office, 312 S. Main St. There is no cost to attend.
Euton will give a short presentation and answer questions.
“I’m creating an opportunity for others. It’s a time to get questions answered from an attorney,” Shaw added. “She’s a good person with resources.”
The program is designed to help any family that has a child with special needs, Euton said.
“That’s a broad term,” the attorney said. “They might need extra support and services and don’t know where to start or want a refresher. We want to provide an overview of resources for parent outreach.”
She’ll discuss two main educational programs for special-needs students: the 504 plan and Assessments for Students with Disabilities. Euton will also outline what parents should be thinking, and doing, as their child approaches the age of 18, when they can legally make their own decisions.
Euton became interested in becoming a special education attorney during an internship with Disability Rights Texas, for which she worked in special education and was exposed to the challenges these families face and what to do if school districts fail to provide the proper education.
She noted that she has two brothers and a sister-in-law who are special education teachers.
“Our family was meant to work in this field,” Euton said. “In special education law, I can see how well this child is progressing throughout their education and where they end up in life.”
Shaw hopes this gathering will compel people to start friendships and perhaps begin a support group.
“We see how much they struggle with different things,” Shaw said. “We wanted to provide this opportunity for people.”
Interested individuals should email email@example.com to make a reservation. Call (512) 588-9497 with questions.