Every parent wants what's best for their child.
And being a parent of a young child with disabilities brings its own set of worries and concerns. No parent wants to see their child labeled or face ridicule from other kids.
This is where Kristen Coker comes in.
"It’s my responsibility as SPSD’s Project Find Coordinator to make sure every parent with a young child who has a disability receives a good foundational experience to begin their child's education," said Kristen. “The right first steps are essential.”
Kristen collaborates with Head Start, daycare providers, doctor offices, and others to see if children qualify for special education services.
She does this via in-person screening and then, in line with the parameters of the various programs, she makes referrals to Early On, Birth Through Five, and Early Head Start.
"I participate in evaluations to place children in appropriate programs and services," Kristen said.
Kristen has been an educator for 22 years, the past eight as Project Find Coordinator, a program launched by Michigan’s Child Find legislation.
She started as a teacher in a Learning Disabilities classroom, then served in the K-2 resource room and performed home visits with Early On.
Besides the wonderful people, one thing she likes about her work is that every day is different. Some days she will work with a 2-year-old, and other days will be with 4-and-5-year-olds.
Depending on what’s on the calendar, she also gets to travel to different school buildings, daycare centers. Preschools, the Head Start Center, and the homes of students.
"I may be super busy,” she said. “But our students and parents are worth it.”