Linda LaPointe: Parent Advocacy
Linda LaPointe’s journey to advocacy has been decades in the making. Her oldest brother has Asperger’s, her sister has complex medical challenges, and her nephew is on the Autism Spectrum, but her vocation of advocacy for individuals with different abilities was launched by the birth of her daughter. Jacqueline, “Jac” as everyone knows her, has Down syndrome and verbal apraxia. Linda quickly realized that Jac would need a strong advocate, and found the Federation for Children with Special Needs. She began by taking every class the Federation offered, including the intensive series from the Parent Consultant Training Institute, run by the Parent Training and Information Center.
She was then inspired to volunteer as a Special Education Surrogate Parent, eventually bringing her skills to the Berkshire Hills Music Academy, a residential facility where music is used to increase “real world” skills and foster independence for young adults with intellectual disabilities. She began work at Berkshire Hills as the Director of Residential Programming, moving on to take a position as Director of the Springfield JCC Kehillah Special Needs Program. Linda currently serves as Director of Programs and Family Support and Advocacy at JERICHO Bureau of Exceptional Children and Adults. At JERICHO, Linda is available to meet with families without fee to discuss their IEP or Adult Services concerns and help them formulate plan to move forward. Linda feels it is a privilege to be allowed to do this work, and thanks her daughter, Jac, for inspiring her to help families of children with special needs.