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OPSU Partners on Workshop Over Special Education in the Hispanic Community

on 11/11/2021

On October 18-19, OPSU partnered with OSU and DRS on a workshop targeted to support the Hispanic families in Oklahoma communities regarding advocacy for their children with special needs’ progression through PreK-12 public schooling and into adulthood by providing informational workshops in Spanish. By offering seminars in the native language, the hope is all parents have access to the knowledge and information to navigate and advocate for their child within the special education process.

The workshop is an interdisciplinary development with Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS). Dr. Claudia Otto and Renee Sansom Briscoe are notable leaders on this project and hope to build capacity, stem system change, and promote advocacy for Hispanic parents and their children with disabilities attending public schools in Oklahoma. It is believed that receiving the information in one’s native language makes a profound difference in informational awareness, comprehension, and advocating skills.

Clinical Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Claudia Maldonado Otto, stated, “My belief as an educator promotes the ideal to learn and reflect to ensure that learning is accessible in an equitable, fair, and appropriate manner to the student population and develop meaningful collaborative work with colleagues. So, as a bilingual Mexican woman, I want to help the Hispanic community, to help create a systemic change and promotion of advocacy for Hispanic parents and their children with disabilities.”

Transition Coordinator for Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, Renee Sansom Briscoe, commented, “I look forward to providing educational opportunities to the Hispanic community, and this is my passion! Seeing parents and students with disabilities succeed makes my heart swell!”

Various agency and organizational representatives have also attended these workshops to assist their Hispanic clients better.

Adult Basic Education Coordinator, Laura Torres stated, “I think it is a great program and opportunity for parents and educators to be versed in the Individualized Educational Plan.”

Director of OPSU Hispanic Student Center, Valentina Allen commented, “It was an absolute pleasure to partner with Dr. Otto and Mrs. Sansom in bringing additional resources to the Guymon community. We continue to see critical services for Spanish only speaking parents overlooked throughout our country. I think that communities are doing the best that they can with the resources they have, but it still leaves this gap. When we were approached with this opportunity to help advertise, promote, and engage community members in this workshop, it was an answered need. I look forward to a continued partnership and the needs of our community met.”