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Jeremiah School hosting info session for parents of teens with disabilities

Jonathan Roberts • Oct 13, 2019 at 9:08 PM

When Angel Foskey’s son, John David, was first diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, she didn’t know what to do, or how things would turn out as her son got older.

“When John David was first diagnosed, we didn’t have (many resources),” Angel Foskey said, fighting back tears. “And so, there’s a lot of uncertainty — especially when they’re young, because you don’t know what things are going to happen.

“You don’t know how things are going to turn out, and if you’re in an area that just doesn’t have as many resources or as much information to help you, it makes that outlook a little more grim,” Foskey said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 44% of children with autism have average to above-average intellect, but many need more support to be prepared for an independent life — support most public schools aren’t able to provide.

Enter the Jeremiah School. The faith-based school for children with communication disorders is on a mission to improve the lives of children with autism, and better prepare them for life after school. On Oct. 23, they’ll take the next step in that journey, hosting a question-and-answer session for parents of children with disabilities, something Jeremiah School Principal Jo Cullen is hopeful can become a semi-regular event.

Cullen, who’s also a parent of a child with autism, knows how important it is to host events with resources for parents — especially as their children near traditional ages of independence for American children.

“You kind of think, ‘What am I going to do?,’ ‘Where are they going to go after school?,’” Cullen said.

The Q&A session will feature professionals from the Tennessee Department of Human Services, pre-employment transition services, Core Services of Northeast Tennessee representatives, a benefits analyst and more.

Heather Poston, the Jeremiah School’s enrichment director, said she thinks the event will be a huge benefit to parents and families.

“It’s a lot of professionals that deal with getting those with special needs into the workforce,” Poston said. “I think it’s going to be a great event that’s going to have so much information for parents to further their children’s success.”

When she saw the amount of support from organizations and people for the event, Foskey couldn’t help but get emotional.

“It’s very heartwarming,” she said. “To see this happening now is very heartwarming — it’s very encouraging.”

The event will be held Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Bank of Tennessee Community Room, 100 Med Tech Parkway. For more information or to RSVP, contact Heather Poston at 423-956-4611 or [email protected]

“At the Jeremiah School, we want each and every individual with autism to be as successful as they can be,” Poston said.

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