I learned about Mission Empower and the services they provide through my daughter’s support coordinator. I have one child who suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder, and I had concerns when her Autistic Support teacher rushed through her individualized education plan. In fact, our family was asked if we would allow the educators who participated in the meeting to highlight “the finer points” of the Individualized Education Plan and forego the typical process that explains specific goals she had achieved and/or make us aware of areas where she needed extra support or explained any new goals, they planned to set for her. Ultimately, when I was denied a parent teacher conference with her mainstream teachers, I set up an appointment with Mission Empower staff. My daughter’s advocate was helpful and informative, but most importantly, she empowered our family to advocate for our daughter’s rights to be included and our right to be informed about her educational success. Since that time, (March 2019) the faculty and staff has taken the time to report all my daughter’s progress as well as areas where she requires extra support. The competent and caring staff at Mission Empower has helped us to form a collaborative relationship with my daughter’s school that has greatly enriched her academic success, Further, Mission Empower’s approach has helped to bridge gaps between parent and faculty relations, and I am happy to report that her exposure to new material mixed with a willing special education professional has led to a very successful year despite COVID-19 and all the complications it has presented since last March.

As the parent of an eleven-year-old child with Autism who attends school in Erie County, my experience Mission Empower was educational and empowering. The competent and caring staff did not simply represent my interests. They conducted a brief assessment and explained why and how they could help my daughter. The educational services that Mission Empower offer to parents gives us the ability to independently advocate for our children’s rights to education. In my opinion, this process not only reduces expenses needed for further advocacy from Mission Empower staff, but it also allows the current staff to assist other families which prevents long waiting lists for services to individuals in need. And finally, the impeccable professionals that make up the Mission Empower staff are well-respected by the educators who report that the advocates promote unity among parents and educators for the greater good of the students.


Diana Fanno