Dublin Villager

$25,000 grant to help parents of students with disabilities

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The Dublin City School District snagged a grant that will help the parents of students with disabilities.

The $25,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education's Office for Exceptional Children will help the district establish a parent mentor program.

"Mentors will provide an array of services and activities, including parent education and student advocacy," said Janet Gillig, the district's executive director of student services.

"The mentors will provide information and support to families and create another mechanism for families of special needs students to make sure their voices and perspectives are heard by those educating and caring for their children."

The district will recruit parents of students with disabilities to help others learn how to navigate the educational system and meet the needs of their children.

"There are experienced parents in our district who have their own children with special needs," Gillig said.

The program will also provide learning opportunities for parents outside mentoring.

"We'll bring in speakers," Gillig said. "The grant pays for parent educational programs."

The Ohio Department of Education has been giving out grants from the Office for Exceptional Children for 10 years, Gillig said, and the schools that receive the grants keep them year after year.

When another school withdrew from the grants, Gillig said she jumped at the chance.

Dublin City Schools will now receive the $25,000 grant until "the money runs out at ODE," Gillig said.

With the grant expected in future years, Gillig is expecting to help many parents.

"First of all, we'll have more opportunities for professional development or parent education," she said.

"It will be free to them. Usually you have to pay to see speakers.

"Mentors will also be there to welcome and support new parents," Gillig said.

"They'll show them how to navigate the system."

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