May 4, 2013
Teacher Appreciation Week
Today’s post is in honor of Teacher Appreciation week, and is dedicated to the teachers, therapists, administrators, and support staff who work with all of our children.
It’s been almost nine years since my eldest son was diagnosed with autism, and it would be the understatement of the year to say it hasn’t always been easy. My family’s journey with autism has comprised two states, dozens of doctors, therapists, teachers, and Early Intervention practitioners, and by this point I feel as if we’ve seen it all.
For us, however, there has been one shining thread of competence woven throughout all of our trials, and I feel compelled to speak of it today.
In essence, all hail to the teachers.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing of course. There were a few IEP meetings along the way where I cried (one was at the thought of my eldest son moving on to a new teacher in the coming school year, perhaps that one shouldn’t count). Frustrastion regarding my boy’s academics and behaviors has intruded on occasion, and a few times I felt I wasn’t truly being heard.
For the most part however, my family and the bevy of educators assigned to both our boys have been able to play nice with each other, and for this, among other things, I am eternally grateful.
I’ve felt that the dedicated men and women who’ve worked with my sons have respected them, pushed them when appropriate, and equally importantly, have liked them (and trust me, at times both of their behaviors have not been particularly likeable).
Truly, none of them are paid enough.
So today, I’d simply like to say thank-you. Thank-you to the speech therapist who stayed up all night to reinstall the programs my oldest son deleted from his iPad, just because he thought erasing them all would be fun.
Thank-you to the child study teams who tweaked, manipulated, and created the perfect IEPs for seven years for my kids, then made certain they were enacted. Thank you to the administrators who gave us time during that long, awful period when Justin resumed his aggressive state last year, waiting months while we figured out how to quell the terrible tide of his anger without having to remove him from his school.
Thank-you to the aides, the life-blood of any classroom (I know, because I’ve been one), who’ve not only tolerated my sons’ non-compliance at times, but have regarded it as a worthy challenge.
And last, but certainly not least, thank-you to the special education and regular education teachers in three different districts (it takes more than one village sometimes) who have challenged my children, believed in them, loved them, and put up with me to boot.
The latter statement should earn them all the medal AND the monument.
You have not only made a tremendous difference in the lives of my sons- you, through your kindness, your commitment, and most importantly perhaps, your competence, have given my family a life.
For once, all I have left to say is thank-you.