Christy Bateman and her daughter, Jill, who has spina bifida, first heard of PACER in 1977. They were attending a pre-school class at Courage Center in 1977, when someone from PACER came to talk about the state’s special education laws and the rights of parents and children with disabilities.
"Our experience with PACER began with us getting crucial information about the new laws affecting Jill," said Christy. "But we soon realized that PACER was about so much more than just the laws."
Christy said PACER’s parent training workshops helped her and her husband, Ron, define their role as a member of Jill’s education team. "We soon became very effective parent advocates for our daughter," said Christy. Christy also noted, education and advocacy training was only the beginning. "We also found an incredible level of support from PACER staff and the other PACER families going through similar situations—support that has been invaluable to our family."
PACER also helped Christy and Ron guide Jill through the sometimes confusing transition period, both from school to work and from living in their home to being on her own. Jill, now 30, currently lives independently with a roommate and personal care attendants. At Courage Center, she is a receptionist in the medical rehabilitation department.
The family remains active supporters of PACER. Both Christy and Ron have served as members (Christy was president) of the PACER Board of Directors and Christy has been a puppeteer with the COUNT ME IN program. Jill has attended the annual PACER benefit every year. The Bateman’s younger daughter, Kimberly, is a family/child psychologist with an interest in disabilities, siblings and rehab medicine.
"There has not been a chapter in Jill’s journey that PACER has not been a part of for us," said Christy. "That has made all the difference in our lives. For us, PACER was the answer."