Katrina Hayes is an individual who seeks opportunities to improve the quality of lives through
effective advocacy. Katrina has a passion and commitment for ensuring that families have the necessary support services provided by our community.
Katrina Hayes is an advocate that is God sent. I’m a mother of a 4yr old who is on the spectrum. Her dad and I have been diligently active and supportive of her care and development since her diagnosis. We are both first time parents and new to understanding ASD as it
relates to our daughter’s school setting. We were unsure and not fully clear of the rights we have within the school systems as 2013-14 is the first school year we have experienced as parents. I was upset, confused, and mama bear angry about the way my daughter’s IEP team was handling her needs based on her IEP. I came to Katrina looking for advice to prepare me for an IEP meeting that felt like I was strapping up for war. What I got in return was more than I prayed for. Katrina calmed me by informing me that my concerns were valid, reassuring me that I wasn’t “wrong” for wanting what’s appropriate from my IEP team. She understood my concerns and broke them down to me so that I would be clear on what I was requesting of my IEP team and what I needed to say to get my request filled and my voice heard. When I arrived to my IEP meeting I took a deep breath before entering the room, reminding myself of Katrina’s words. After my meeting not only did I receive what I went in requesting, I also made an impression on the team that I had a strong advocate in my corner, Katrina!
I had the privilege of working alongside Katrina Hayes when I provided Speech and Language Therapy for her son. As my time with her son progressed, it was obvious that Katrina was dedicated to providing the most effective and quality services for her son and other children with special needs. She quickly became well-versed in NYC Special Education laws and fought for her son to receive more services (he received Speech Therapy 5x/week for 60 minutes each day-which is unprecedented in my time as a Speech Language Pathologist.) Not only did Katrina advocate for her son’s services, but, on a personal note, she fought alongside me as I obtained licensure in the State of New York. After I completed my Clinical Fellowship Year, New York law changed and it became evident that I would have to stop servicing the 13 children on my caseload until my license was approved. For children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the halt in consistent services or change in provider can have a negative impact on their improvement. Katrina called the New York State Licensing board, and with persistence, helped push my license through in a speedy manner so the children on my caseload did not suffer from the beauracratic licensing process. I am excited for the families who get to work with her as she aids them in navigating the special education system.