To support National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, NCS is proud to recognize the work of our colleague, Mary Jo Wedding, who serves the community as President of the Board of Disability Legal Services of Indiana (DLSI). DLSI advocates for students with disabilities and their parents in education matters in administrative proceedings and both state and federal courts. DLSI was formed in 2008 to help parents, foster parents, and other caregivers who had few places to turn for assistance in advocating for children with disabilities.
Mary Jo was drawn to DLSI by her knowledge of educational challenges for students challenged by disabilities when accommodations were difficult to obtain. She was also drawn to the mission of DLSI by the passion and devotion of now Executive Director and former NCS attorney, Margaret Jones, to assist families of children with disabilities seeking on par educational experiences. “I am inspired by the seemingly tireless efforts of Margaret Jones to reach more families one way or the other!”
DLSI assists families with issues such as accommodations for students, special education matters, and IEP /Section 504 Plans for students with a disability who may not qualify for special education services. This vital work helps improve educational results for children with disabilities to ensure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities. Mary Jo is proud of the internal growth of the organization, the open mindedness of the board to climb growth obstacles, the success of a strategic plan by commitment to the process, and recent growth and ability to expand services to more students.
Currently, DLSI is focusing on board growth, implementing an Expansion of Services initiative, and financial sustainability. “I am excited about any step DLSI takes to reach more children who need assistance obtaining educational opportunities,” said Mary Jo. “These objectives are exciting because they will build sustainability of DLSI, ensuring that increasing numbers of children with disabilities will obtain educational opportunities and gain independence.”
For more information about DLSI, visit http://disabilitylegalservicesindiana.org.