LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Stories investigated and reported by the 8 News NOW I-Team have inspired some parents of children with developmental disabilities to take action, and connect with each other. Some of them attended the Developmental Disabilities Advocacy Conference held at Palace Station Hotel & Casino Monday.
This marks the fifth year for the conference. Families learned more about advocating for their loved ones with developmental disabilities. They realize they are not alone, and they are empowering themselves and each other to try to make sure their children who have special needs get the resources and education they deserve.
“I’m the voice of my child,” said Olivia Espinoza, the founder of AzulBlue, United by Autism, which connects parents of children with special needs. She organized the conference with the help of the Nevada governor’s council on developmental disabilities.
Espinoza’s son Matthew is 14 years old, autistic, and non-verbal.
“We need to be together for a better system and of course, for the best of our children,” Espinoza said.
The system that that was continuously brought up at the conference was the Clark County School District.
“We’re not giving up until this little thing is gonna be approved for CCSD,” said Tania Blessing, mother.
From a mother who is fighting to equip her non-verbal daughter with a listening device at school to another mom who had to fight to view a video of her non-verbal child on a school bus, which revealed another child broke his leg, the purpose of the conference was to team up and build a support system.
Also at Monday’s conference, I-Team Reporter Vanessa Murphy was presented with an award for giving “a voice to the voiceless.” Vanessa was recognized for her reports on the issues families of children with special needs face.
Watch more of Vanessa’s stories by going here.