the doctors to speak the same language
“We want more good days for these
to support the student, and in doing so,
we are supporting the family,” she says.
With the parents’ consent, they com-
municate with a child’s doctors when
needed. “Essentially we’re opening up
the conversation that the families are
unable to have: They are running a
marathon. ;ey are exhausted, trying
to juggle family life with the demands of
a child who requires a lot of attention,
time for appointments, for treatment
and so on.”
;e child’s illness or injury is always
their starting point. “We don’t care
about the [formal] diagnosis—we care
about the symptoms that manifest in
the classroom,” Schumacher says. To
this end, they’ve created a professional
development program called “Walk a
Mile” that’s aimed at educating schools
and allied health care providers. ;e pro-
gram, which they ran this past October
for ;e Siena School in Silver Spring—
a private school serving students with
language-based learning differences,
such as dyslexia—is a simulation that
demonstrates how medical issues may
present in the classroom, and o;ers
strategies that educators can use to assist
students. If a child is falling asleep at a
desk, would a teacher believe that the
behavior could be a symptom of POTS?
“Highly unlikely,” Schumacher says.
Power UP recently assisted a client
whose son is severely allergic to peanuts.
;e boy was in a preschool that had a
peanut-free classroom, but his parents
learned during a parent-teacher con-
ference that some of his teachers didn’t
know about the allergy. Taylor, who
had experience with Harrison’s allergy
to bees, knew immediately what was
needed. She and Schumacher provided
the boy’s mother with questions to ask
the school, and developed information
packets and role assignments—such as
who will carry the EpiPen on field trips—
to give to the sta;. Taylor accompanied
the client to school meetings, something
Power UP can do at a parent’s request.
“Wendy and Julie encouraged me
to change my mindset,” says the boy’s
mother, who was shocked and upset but
also worried about being an overbear-
ing parent. “;ey validated my concerns
and told me I’m not alone. ;ey said
they would help me to feel confident as
I advocate for my child.”
Schumacher describes Power UP’s
mission as creating collaboration to
support children. “You have families,
you have a child with a condition, and
you have a need,” she says. “I’m a liaison.
If I can help someone navigate through
a process—getting them information,
educating and empowering them—then
Steve Goldstein is a freelance writer and
editor and the former bureau chief in
Moscow and in Washington, D.C., for ;e
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