Presented in English with Cantonese and Spanish interpretation available.
This workshop provides an overview of transition from K-12 school to postsecondary life to help prepare a student for further education, job training, employment, living arrangements, transportation, community participation and adult healthcare settings presented by Audrey Vernick who herself is going through transition with her adult son. Bio below.
Audrey Vernick, Director of Patient and Family Advocacy Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Alliance
Audrey Vernick’s first son, Bennett, had the right hemisphere of his brain removed at age two to stop catastrophic epilepsy caused by a stroke before birth. He had a shunt placed five years later to resolve subsequent hydrocephalus. Today, he is seizure-free and attending college; however, the path to getting him appropriate educational services was excruciating. This experience drove Audrey to fully understand the IEP process and her son’s rights and eventually to become a full-time parent advocate.
Audrey now serves as the Director of Patient and Family Advocacy for the Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Alliance. Her role is to help patients and their families access medical, educational, vocational, transition, and community living services and supports across the lifespan. She helps families navigate the educational system and develop IEPs for their children after epilepsy surgery, providing information and parent training via workshops, webinars, guides, and presentations. Her work involves helping parents understand all areas of suspected disability, how to request assessments from their school district in all of these areas, and how to develop parent concerns, goals, and accommodations needed for the student. She also provides training to help school teams understand the implications of the child’s impairments in the educational setting.
Audrey coordinates the Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Alliance’s evidence-based Peer Support program for caregivers of children who have had or are considering brain surgery for epilepsy as well as their Sibling Support Program. Audrey is an active member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and completed their Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT) in 2016 and received the Advanced Advocate Training Certificate in 2018. In addition to being a trained special education advocate, she is also a certified “Future Planner” via The Arc, sits on the HOBSCOTCH Youth Advisory Committee, and is part of the Rare Epilepsy Network (REN) Adult Issues Task Force as well as the Infantile Spasms Action Network (ISAN).