The Pen Project is a resource that parents of children with special needs and learning disabilities can use to help with the challenges their kids face at school. It is designed to show the students and their families how to advocate for their unique needs.
Kenzie Green is a 6th grader and has been involved with the Pen Project for about six years but it all began when Kenzie's mother started searching online for ways that she could find support for her and her daughter.
“It’s been difficult you know, she has hearing loss and we’ve got other diagnoses along the way, it’s been a struggle, we have our good years and our bad years in school,” said parent, Rachel Green.
However, due to the Pen Project, Kenzie gets to sit by her teachers, chew gum for her anxiety, and even gets math charts for tests. These accommodations have helped her focus on a path toward success in the classroom.
“I love working with families and seeing children and youth be successful, so when we overcome some of the hurdles that come with having a disability it’s a really great thing and to see kids, you know, go from struggling to being successful,” said Pen Project regional coordinator, Stephanie McLoughlin.
Green says that as a parent, she can also fully participate with professionals in planning services for her daughter and contribute to her accommodations.
“Just having that support when you go into those meetings, it’s scary—you’re the parent, you have all the teachers in there, the principal—it can be overwhelming,” said Green.
However, the ultimate goal is to teach youth and young adults how to advocate for themselves as independent individuals.
“I love getting to do what I love, getting to work with families and help them relieve some of that stress and feel more capable of handling what life has for them,” said McLoughlin.
Moreover, Green says the Pen Project has been a blessing for her family.
“It’s just been a great resource for us in our lives,” said Green.
If you have a child or know someone that can benefit from the Pen Project, you can call the regional coordinator at 806-789-3843.