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Advocate for Your Loved Ones

Velma Betz
Velma Betz
When my son was in high school, I had to advocate for him, because the high school did not supply him with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

My son was born with a disability. His development was slow. He had a learning disability and a speech impediment. They put him in Early Childhood Development classes.

I had to go to the special education office and the Principal’s office. Finally, I had to file a complaint with the Los Angeles School District, Division of Special Education.

It was hard. I had to fill out papers and send them to different people. I had to get help from my daughter. It took us three weeks to fill out all the paperwork! I got a lot of resistance from his teachers and the principal.

Then, at last, I got a positive reply. I got my son all the things he was supposed to get. I felt good. I think my son felt good about what I did for him. My son is now 31.

This experience taught me how to advocate for myself and my family. Now, I am pursuing a career in advocacy.

Velma is a student at East Village Access in New York City. She was raised by her aunt and uncle in Texas. A former special education student, she graduated from high school in 1984. Her goal is to become a Peer Specialist and to get off SSI. She says, “I am a very determined person, and I will not let anything get in my way.”

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