Building Partnerships conference held in Jackson - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Building Partnerships conference held in Jackson

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - Building Partnerships Working Together, held their second annual conference 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."

Keynote speaker, Kathy Chase Young shared her story about her son who was diagnosed with ADHD, while the audience listened intently. She 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 says 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."

Wertz says she can related to parents feeling isolated. She says 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."

Wertz ended up taking her son out of the public school system and enrolled her son in a school called CARES designed to help children with special needs. She says her son is now doing fine and in the process of earning his GED.  

As for Young, she feels most educators want what's best, but sometimes, she says 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."

This conference was federally funded through grants and sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Education.

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