I bet most of you probably wonder, “Where does this girl get her motivation to work to hard from? How does she keep a smile on her face everyday? How is she so humble and grounded?” Do you new parents with a newly diagnosed disabled child wonder these things? If you do, I’ll put it one sentence and one sentence only for you.
When you grow up with disability like mine and many other people that have disabilities, it all about one thing: Foundation.
The reason I say that is if your child is starting school and is disabled- find that foundation of people (teacher, Para OT, PT Ect.) I don’t care if it takes you days or weeks to find that foundation-find it! It’s the one thing that will help your child thrive in the long run.
I’m telling all of you this because today I’m going to tell you why I’m thankful for the foundation I had growing up…
Yes. I had it.
When I first started school, I was only three. I was a complete and unstable wreck, always the student that got sick, the one that never said a word. My parents had me late in life so they were still learning how to care for me.
But, the teacher I had at the time didn’t care at all what I looked like, how unstable or shy I was, how sick I used to get every week or so.
She didn’t care one bit.
I was treated like any other student.
She was with us through the most difficult times and never once gave up on my parents or me.
One of the most difficult times was January of 2004 when I was told by my doctor I would have to have surgery to release my hamstrings. That was for sure the most difficult time we ever had to go through as a family and I don’t think we really knew how to cope with that news.
So to prepare, my mom told my teacher that I would have to be taken out of school for a while due to having to have this surgery done and my even asked her if she minded I’d be gone.
Instead of asking a million questions, she only told my mom this:
“Absolutely not. You bring her back when she gets better.”
To tell you the truth we didn’t really know at the time yet how long it would take me to get better.
On January 7 2004, just days after I turned 4, the surgery was performed and done.
Then came the recovery process, which I’ll tell you didn’t go the exact way we wanted it to.
When I left the hospital I had two casts on my legs and that same week I went back to the doctor for my post operation follow up. The doctor said it would take me two months to recover, so I pretty much had to be out of school for two months.
So I paid a visit to my class casts sticking out and all, and we expressed the news to my teacher.
Let’s just say she wasn’t having the whole “two month recovery thing.”
“Oh no, you bring that child right to me. There will be no sitting at home. She needs to be in the classroom.”
So needless to say, that one visit turned into me returning back to school just a week after my surgery.
My mom was concerned though. Who was going to help change the diapers…who’s going to help me with my therapy treatment plan…? How was I going to make a full recovery because I was supposed to be taking it easy?
The concern was expressed and my mom was told the most reassuring thing:
“Hand over her and the diapers. We got this.
And for those two months, the whole time, my teachers focus was one me…
And me alone.
No one else.
I got my casts off and recovered in time for graduation. No one knew it yet- it came as a huge surprise but out of the 14 kids in my graduating class, I was chosen to be the “leader of my class. Do we know why? No. will we ever really know why? No. All we know to this day is that it came as a surprise and no one knew about it.
When I started my Kindergarten year that next year, she always came into check on me and make sure I was doing ok no matter what.
To be honest even though I or my parents couldn’t see it- she knew I was going to be someone pretty awesome- and she was right for sure-I think I somewhat turned out to be that exact person in a way.
She was the one that saw the true potential in me when others couldn’t.
To be able to come back to her now as an 18 year old high school graduate and now college student and to know that she’s very proud of me and what I turned out to be is honestly the absolute best feeling!
I bet now in this day in age you can’t find a single good teacher that would do these things for a special needs child. They are so hard to come by now. – I might be wrong but, hey that’s just me and my opinion.
So please special needs parents- like I said, earlier on, do whatever it is you need to do to find that foundation for your child. Even if it takes you days or weeks. Find it. Because I can promise you it will help you in the long run. And your child will turn out be the best they can be because of it. For a special needs child, those first two years are the hardest and it’s up to you to find that “set of building blocks to build off of.” You can and you will be able to find it. Just keep trying.
To my former teacher. I want you to know you are loved and respected by me and my family for everything that you did those first two years to help get me though. It is because of you and your teachings that I’m thriving and doing so well. No one asked you to do what you did for me and you still did it. Take all the credit and praises you get because you deserve every single one of them because weather you want to believe me or not, my success all began with you. And so, I wrote this article to say thank you. Thank you for everything.