My name is LaJoy Johnson-Law (everyone just calls me Ms. Law) and I am a resident of Ward 8. I have a 5-year-old daughter named Abria, and she attends Rocketship Rise Academy in Ward 8. As a parent leader in the community, I feel there is a strong need for parent voice in education. There are not many places that allow parents to have a speaking forum, so I am excited to be a part of PAVE. PAVE has given parents the opportunities to speak their minds and share their stories with their schools and policymakers. As a single mom, I am my daughter’s only advocate, and therefore understand how vital it is for parents to be involved in our children’s education because they cannot always advocate for themselves.
My daughter, Abria, is a child with special needs and she only weighed 1lb and 6 oz when she was born. She is currently diagnosed with chronic lung disease, epilepsy, and a developmental delay. I am so thankful for my daughter and how far she has come, so I am constantly advocating for her and other children who have special needs and their families.
I think it is crucial that the community knows the challenges of taking care of a special needs child. Being a parent is already stressful and exhausting, but when a child has special needs – that it is another challenge. Many parents, grandparents, and caregivers are not able to work due to the time constraints and unexpected emergencies and illnesses that affect their child. There are many families wondering how they are going to work to pay the rent when they must also be available at a moment’s notice to be at home or the hospital with their child. Understanding the unique challenges that come with being a parent of a special needs child, I know it is time we raise our voices, so we can be solution-oriented within our communities.
I know that every parent has their own challenges, but it is important to me that I speak up and advocate for all special needs children and their families. My daughter’s education and well-being mean everything to me, and that is why I decided to elevate my voice and join PAVE.
By LaJoy Johnson Law, Ward 8 Parent and PAVE Board Member