TASK Mission Statement
Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK) is a nonprofit charitable organization whose mission is to enable individuals with disabilities to reach their maximum potential by providing them, their families and the professionals who serve them with training, support, information, resources and referrals, and by providing community awareness programs. Initially, the primary focus was on children three to 21 years of age, but services evolved to include all ages, especially in the TASK Technology Center.
TASK serves families of children aged birth to 26 years of age under IDEA and other systems mandated to provide services to individuals with disabilities. As a federally-funded Parent Training and Information Center, TASK is part of a national network of centers providing similar services. TASK provides advocacy information, workshops and information in English
Dealing with a child with a disability is an overwhelming first-time experience for most parents. TASK advocates offer empathy, emotional support, peer counseling, techniques for coping and referrals. TASK's advocates are parents or siblings of children with disabilities and/or are disabled themselves. Advocates offer one-to-one assistance over the telephone and answer questions for parents and professionals concerning their child's or client's rights. TASK offer classes on parent's rights and responsibilities within the Individualized Education Program (IEP), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and transition to preschool and adult services.
The following excerpt from a grateful parent's letter is an example of TASK's impact on families: "...We would have been utterly lost and helpless in our efforts to secure appropriate support and educational services for Kevin had it not been for your continual 'hotline' providing us with essential information, emotional and personal support and counseling." Kevin's mother became an informed, effective advocate for him, culminating in Kevin's graduation and "...his climb to productive, independent adulthood."
"Thank you so much for all your help! You have been an enormous help to me and my son's education. I could never have achieved my goals without your help over the phone, and your [workshop]. Thanks to the knowledge and support you have given me, I'm well on my way to attaining the appropriate education my son deserves. You are a valuable resource to parents."
"I attended your IEP Workshop...and I just wanted to say 'THANK YOU.' I walked in a crying Mom and walked out an advocate for my son."
THE TASK STORY
With support from staff at the Regional Center of Orange County, TASK was formed in 1977 and incorporated July 28, 1978 by a small group of parents of children with disabilities. Although a variety of disabilities were represented among the founding members, it was clear that there were many areas of mutual concern, common obstacles to be overcome, and agreement that much could be done to improve the quality of life for all children with disabilities and their families.
TASK was born out of families' needs to:
- Locate other parents whose shared experiences could help in developing a positive perspective.
- Disseminate information about existing resources.
- Better understand their children's disabilities.
- Identify their children's strengths to better address their areas of need.
- Help their children gain acceptance at school and in the community.
In September 1988, TASK was selected to join the National Special Education Alliance (now known as the Alliance for Technology Access). TASK is fully committed to the national effort of developing and sharing resources designed to promote awareness and implementation of microcomputer technology among children and adults with disabilities. With the support of several educational professionals, TASK began providing technology consultations to families in Orange, Riverside and San Diego Counties. Fifteen years later the TECH Center both Mac and PC computers, numerous adaptive keyboards, switch technology, hundreds of specialized and educational software programs, and an array of adapted toys for toddlers. The Center provides Guided Explorations of Technology Consultations. The
TECH Center has two full time and one part time staff. In 2011, TASK opened a
second TECH Center, currently located at our South Gate office, to better serve families in Los
Catchment Area: TASK maintains a strong presence throughout 34,916 square miles in Southern California from the Mexican Border north to and including San Luis Obispo, Mono, Inyo and San Bernardino Counties - an area larger than the combined square miles of the states of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont. TASK has developed many Parent Leaders throughout this broad service area, and parents are referred to them as appropriate.
Achievements: In the past fiscal year (2011-2012), TASK handled
over 4,200 in-depth advocacy calls for assistance and gave over 900 referrals.
There were 2,500 new client intakes during 2011-2012, and over
Parent Information Packets were sent to new clients and professionals who
called for information. The total number of individuals reached through
presentations, workshops and information and resource fairs was 4,732: 3,863
parents and family members; 662 professionals; and 207 children and consumers. TASK also conducted outreach to approximately
5,800 people at resource fairs
and other community events. TASK's flyer (12 pages) is mailed to over 12,000 families and professionals. TASK's
newsletter (28 pages/bimonthly) is available with the TASK $35 Membership Fee.
TASK encourages parental participation in partnership with education, believes that parents are entitled to be equal partners in the education process, and promotes the belief that well-informed parents are the best advocates for their child. In order to achieve that partnership, TASK provides parent-to-parent support, one-on-one individualized telephone assistance and education and training on the educational rights of parents and their children with disabilities so they can access, in a positive manner, the education, health and social services systems and advocate at Individual Education Plan meetings.