When Zuleka Queen-Postell learned her 2-year-old son, Ryan, now 12, had autism, she began a journey with the Federation for Children with Special Needs that would improve the lives of her entire family. Her younger son, Dominic, has ADHD, and Zuleka, herself, struggles with ADHD and dyslexia.
“I never want my sons to struggle like I did in school,” she said.
Zuleka Queen-Postell is shown with her sons Ryan (right) and Dominic and her husband Ryan.
“Because I’ve had to fight for accommodations for my sons, I know what I need to do for me,” she said.
To address her sons’ needs, she became involved in the Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) – a group supported by the Federation – at their Cambridge school. The school system then hired her as its SEPAC liaison.
“I host workshops for families, and the Federation is the go-to place for trainings and information,” she said.
Zuleka soaks up Federation information. She attends the Voices of Community conference each year, has taken the Parent Consultant Training Institute (PCTI) workshop twice, and several other trainings.
She advocated for Ryan to have an out of district placement where he can thrive. She also helps other children as a Special Education Surrogate Parent.
When Zuleka decided to return to school herself at Bunker Hill Community College, she used Federation trainings to advocate for herself. She has connected with the centers for disabilities, tutoring, and writing there.
“The skills that the Federation provided me to help my kids, I’ve been able to use for myself. I’m breaking the generational cycle. I never want my sons to struggle like I did in school,” she said.
“When you have a child with special needs, you have to educate yourself. Go to Federation workshops, go to the website. It’s important for parents to know their rights. The Federation is the place to learn that.”