Local mom uses social media to bolster son's classroom success

MILWAUKEE COUNTY, WI - A Shorewood mom is turning to Facebook to find someone who can help her son succeed in the classroom.

"My son James is deaf-blind," said Katie Kasper.

"He has combined hearing and vision loss to a significant extent," she also said.

To help this mother, the Shorewood School District plans to hire an intervener, or learning assistant.

The job position is a highly specialized role that requires both training and certification to help special people with special needs. That's why James' mom is using Facebook. Her goal is to cast as wide a net as possible.

"All we've done is taken the social media platform and used it as a way to amplify the voice of the school district," Kasper said. 

"For us, the power of Facebook [was] really important to get the word out to people who maybe hadn't thought about that role or perhaps hadn't thought about working in education, but may be interested in doing something like this," she also said.

The learning assistant would be an employee of the Shorewood School District and serve as the eyes and ears of the deaf-blind learner.

"If a child does not have an intervener all of those steps from the beginning of the school day through the end are going to be challenging," said Jaclyn Borchardt, program director at Vision Forward.

"And determining what accommodations need to be made can be difficult," she also said.

In a perfect situation, the intervener would work with James every year until he graduates, and Kasper's hoping her social media plea leads to the right person to work alongside her little boy.

"We would love to see a really kind compassionate enthusiastic person hired to work with our son and help assess the curriculum at school," Kasper said.

"And in terms of how soon we want it to happen, there is no time too soon," she continued.

The intervener position is posted on the Shorewood School District website.  Hopeful applicants can find the qualifications there.  The district did not want to comment on this story stating it could jeopardize student confidentiality. 

There are about 200 deaf-blind children in Wisconsin.

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