We have been extremely fortunate over the past 12 years to have incredible, loving teachers and aides caring for our child with special healthcare needs. Our son goes to public school and we haven't regretted the choice, due to the caliber of teaching professionals and support staff at the schools he's attended.
Our son is now in the 8th grade and is in a Life Skills Class, which includes children with various disabilities. Their classroom is arranged so that it is functional for their needs. There are 8 students, a teacher, and 2 aides. I have always been big on parent-teacher communication. It is especially important with our child, who has seizures and behavior issues. We, as parents, need to be aware of what is going on during his day, and his teacher has kept a lifeline between us, thanks to the use of photos and texts.
I keep my cell phone close in case of medical emergencies, but lately the photos are what make my day. Just last week, my son discovered the chalkboard. He seemed to have loved the idea of cause and effect as he literally wrote horizontal and vertical lines across a 10-foot wall of chalkboard. The teacher's comment, "He has been busy." The next picture she sent was one of Albert Einstein at a chalkboard. That made me smile from ear to ear.
I did happen to ask the teacher how his day was going several weeks back and the response was priceless. “He is doing better now. First period kind of wild, second period, well just don't even ask, third period better and eating lunch now.”
After knowing this teacher for a year and talking on the phone, texting and becoming friends, I had to ask what the heck was he doing in second period. Apparently, he had chosen to crawl under a chair. So his teacher sat on the chair so he couldn't move … and he loved it.
I immediately was laughing my head off because this was like Temple Grandin’s hug box. My son and his teacher invented a squeezing machine that works in the classroom to decompress him when he is overwhelmed!
I am so appreciative of this creative and caring team who knows and understands our son. They make his educational experience worthwhile and keep me from a lot of stress and worry with great communication.
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Before I had my son, I was a special education teacher. I was one of those teachers who believed that these "special" kids needed to be kept safe. After teaching in a self-contained special education class, my views slowly started to change.