Resources available for kids with special needs, in light of what happened to Jordan Rodriguez

Resources available for kids with special needs, in light of what happened to Jordan Rodriguez

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Murder charges have been filed against Larissa Rodriguez, the mother of a 5-year-old boy who is presumed dead.

Court documents state Larissa Rodriguez led police to her son Jordan's body, buried in her backyard.

Investigators say the body, which has not yet been officially identified by the medical examiner, showed signs of previous abuse and had several broken ribs.

Police were tipped off about the child's body when the brother of Larissa's boyfriend called them Monday from Pakistan.

Many wonder what could have been done to help Jordan Rodriguez.

His aunts say they knew their nephew needed extra care and tried to help him but say the system failed him. 

"I know when he left the home, he was barely talking, he wasn't, he was walking, he was playing but he's precious, he's a premature, he's a delayed,"  Ana Rodriguez said.

Jordan was a special needs child and didn't speak.

Lori Mago, General Manager for Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County says there are resources available to families with speech and physical therapists and caseworkers. No documented diagnosis is needed, if you meet the qualifications, they won't turn your family away. 

"We work very closely with the families. Working side-by-side with the parents is really the core of what we do. We are the experts in child development but you're the expert of your child and when you put the two together, great things happen," she said.

The agency works with community partners like "Bright Beginnings" which offers services to children from birth to age 3.

By law, they're not able to disclose if Jordan Rodriguez was a client but say they offer services to children that are just like him. Last year they served more than 2400 children at no cost to the family in need. They say many people just don't know what is available. 

"You don't have to have a diagnosis or a documented delay. If you have any concern for your child's development to give us a call we will evaluate and assess all children's development to determine eligibility and for service and then if they're not then we will help make connections to the schools and other community resources," said Katie Parker with Bright Beginnings.

Statistics show that early intervention reduces the need for future special education.

Call 1-755-GROW for information about services.

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