Tina is the proud mother of 5 amazing children (ages 6-17) who are unique individuals with special needs. She is their cheerleader and ardent supporter. Additionally, she is also a project coordinator, doula, perinatal educator, and health coach.
In her current position, at the Parent Information Center of Delaware, she partners with families to help them find resources and supports for their health and education including coordinating a community doula program that serves Sussex County.
The Parent Information Center of Delaware or PICDEL has been in existence since 1984, and they are a statewide organization that works with families of children with all kinds of different special needs.
Christina first joined in 2009, as a project coordinator for the PERK Grant which helped families get more involved in their children’s schools and needs.
She was so inspired by the families that she worked with that she returned to school and received her Masters Degree in Special Education and taught children with autism for a few years and also taught fifth grade and special education.
Since COVID there has been a lot of changes, and teachers are passionate about what they do, however, there are still a lot of challenges so PICDEL encourages parents to reach out to them for assistance whether it is for legal matters, support or accommodations in the classroom. They also help with IEP goals as well as other serious issues, such as school discipline and expulsion,
The Ombudsman program also helps parents, which is a Delaware Public investment program that began in April. Being a partner helps parents and students become more involved in their IEPs and to know that there is support for them.
In complex conflict risks, parents may need extra support especially when their children are not able to attend school because of expulsion, so PICDEL works with parents as consultants, especially at IEP meetings.
Tina stated, that even for very experienced parents, having somebody else in the room saying “do you need to take a break or, do you want to discuss this or I think that, you know, Miss So and So is uncomfortable because of” type of prompting is important.
That’s basically what PICDEL does in those situations; helping to make parents comfortable and helping them to realize that they have power to advocate for their child.
Delaware Family Voices is also another program that helps students with physical disabilities, assisting with not only education but insurance and medical needs as well.
If you want to learn more about Tina, or PICDel, head over to their website https://picofdel.org/