Who We Are

Mary's Story

Mary's Story

Mary was nine years old and in fourth grade when her case worker brought her to the attention of Advocates for Children of New York (AFC).  Before she came into foster care, Mary’s family had been homeless, and she had attended several schools as they shuffled between shelters and the homes of friends and relatives.  Mary was already enrolled in a small special education class, but despite this intervention, she was not learning to read. 

AFC helped get a comprehensive evaluation for Mary, which confirmed that she was a smart and inquisitive child who was far behind in school.  The evaluation diagnosed her with dyslexia and recommended specialized reading interventions for her.  Armed with this information and with support from AFC, Mary’s foster care agency requested extra interventions for Mary from her school.  At first, the school was reluctant to provide Mary with more services, claiming that Mary was too hyperactive to benefit from more instruction and in addition, their reading specialist’s full schedule prevented her from helping Mary. AFC disagreed and requested a due process hearing that resulted in the school settling the case and agreeing to provide Mary with appropriate education services.

Mary began receiving group and individual sessions with the school’s reading specialist, as well as extra reading services over the summer.  After a year and a half of these interventions, Mary went from below a first-grade level to a sixth-grade level in reading.  She won an award for the most improved student in her class and was doing well enough to be mainstreamed in some subjects in her middle school.