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To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to express my appreciation for the opportunity to be a participant in ND Partners in Policymaking.

One of the most difficult things about having a child with a disability is the isolation you experience. Partners gave me the chance to connect with others who share my experiences and concerns. Without them, I am a lone voice, difficult to hear. Together, our voice is strong, and we can advocate for changes in the systems that serve us.

Before Partners, I didn't know any self-advocates. I was afraid of them: afraid I would be embarrassed by communication difficulties, afraid I might offend or fail, and afraid of the unknown. Partners has freed me from my fears by replacing fear with knowledge. This is what inclusion is all about!

Partners has given me the courage and tools I need to provide a better life for my son. Unfortunately, at this time, that doesn't mean he will be included at his local school, but it does mean he will not be in a separate classroom for the "seriously emotionally disturbed". While he studies at home, I continue to work for change in our local school district. I am Vice-Chair of the Family-Educator Enhancement Team with a budget of $5,000 per year, and I write and publish our quarterly newsletter which is distributed to the teaching staff in our local school district as well as parents of children who receive special services. I truly have a voice!

Thank you for the opportunity to change my life. You have made a difference!


Jean King

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