WesCare Professional Services, in conjunction with Mental Health Support Services of NC, recently
established partnership with a budding disability advocacy organization working to fill a void within the local mental health community.
PTS Support for Exceptional Children guides parents and teachers of children with special needs and the children themselves through the mental health system, an often difficult journey navigated alone.
Twin sisters Jana and Tassia Carter formerly launched PTS Support for Exceptional Children as a nonprofit in May. They each have sons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
After realizing there was a need for a support group, the pair decided to gather and share all they’ve learned throughout the past eight years advocating for their children.
They also combined their experiences from their respective careers to form the organization. Jana has a background in business previously serving 12 years in corporate America. Today she owns an auto loan company.
Tassia has a background in early childhood education, previously owning her own child care program, opening a school as an administrator and lead teacher, and currently working with WesCare to open the after-school program at Spero Developmental Daycare Services this summer. She will return to school in the fall taking special education courses. She currently provides home care for her eight-year-old son, Jonas Oliver, who has mild intellectual disability, scoliosis, and is nonverbal.
WesCare provides services for Jana’s seven-year-old son, Nijay, who has autism and sensory processing disorder. While working together, Jana found WesCare’s level of professionalism and devotion, to not only her son but all consumers and their families, impressive and admirable.
“There aren’t many places out there that really do what they say they do and they do it with passion,” says Jana.
The feeling was mutual. Jana and Tassia began holding support groups at WesCare and a partnership emerged.
“They truly have a passion for this field and we are very proud to be partnered with them,” says Eric Page, WesCare Operations Manager.
PTS of PTS Support for Exceptional Children stands for parents, teachers, and students. The organization hosts three meetings a week, every other week, addressing the needs of each group per session.
“Every component matters in the success of the students,” says Jana.
Meetings include dinner, networking opportunities, and discussions centered around topics of interest, such as sensory processing disorder, autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, diet, potty training, managing emotions, stress, and more.
Participants have opportunities to ask questions and express their challenges to others who can relate. They receive feedback, educational materials, and a list of resources. They leave feeling validated, heard, and with tools to help as they move forward.
“[They] come out and express themselves in a judgement-free zone,” says Tassia.
Specifically during group sessions with teachers, guest experts such as special education teachers and occupational therapists lead discussions on how to best modify their classrooms to meet the needs of their students with disabilities while also meeting the needs of students without disabilities.
“Our ultimate goal is to make sure [participants] are feeling very empowered, very encouraged,” says Jana.
Additionally, PTS Support for Exceptional Children hopes to offer support group sessions in different settings, provide workshops and seminars, host art programs, provide babysitting, and link participants with various networks that can further address their concerns.
With an understanding that students may receive a message of empowerment more effectively from other students instead of adults, youth members of PTS Support for Exceptional Children plan to participate in two existing summer camps this season leading group support sessions for children.
The nonprofit also has plans for a big community day and photo shoot in July.
Jana and Tassia are thrilled they can be of assistance to the community. Yet, while their organization helps others, they are receiving the same in return.
Just hearing how much they’re already impacting so many lives, “It’s such a blessing,” says Tassia.
The next PTS Support Exceptional Children parent meetings will be held July 10th and 24th at 6:30 p.m. at the WesCare office. They will hold four student meetings every Monday starting July 3 at Hope Academy. If you know of someone with a child with disabilities who you think might benefit, please share.