Special Needs Parenting: A ‘Thank You’ to Teachers and Therapists

Erika Fässler-Nelson by Erika Fässler-Nelson Additional Needs

Erika Fässler-Nelson

Erika Fässler-Nelson

To witness all the things that she cannot tell me about.

To see how her teachers interact with her.

Experience how her therapists work with her.

Feel the love and dedication of everyone that she comes into contact with.

Today is no exception, as I gaze through the crack in the open door, I see three happy and engaged children and one very animated teacher singing into a voice playback device.

It is days like today, when I see a side of my daughter that rarely is seen outside of the comfort of our own home, that I know that she is in the right place.

Mia has been in kindergarten since August of this past year.

Kindergarten starts at the age of four where we live and runs two years in length.

When a child is at the young end of age four, parents can decide to wait a year to send their child.

Even though Mia was only two days shy of the cut off date to even make it into the kindergarten start, we decided with a healthy leap of faith that this was the right time for her.

The school we chose is specialized in working with children with multiple handicaps, and is also a competence centre for those with visual and hearing disability, as well as other sensory disorders.

Finally all her therapies would be under own roof.

One integrated and interdisciplinary team to help Mia.

What a change from the marathon of appointments that we have had over the last four years.

Sending any child to school, special needs or not means letting go and trusting in your child’s teachers.

When your child is non-verbal it is scary to send them off, not knowing how they feel about their time away from home.

What if she doesn’t like school and can’t tell me?

What if her teachers can’t read her needs and she suffers?

What if she feels abandoned that I don’t accompany her to school?

Luckily, all these questions in my head have been answered without me ever having to really ask.

I visited Mia’s classroom four days after her new teacher started working with her.

In that short amount of time, her teacher had discovered Mia’s favourite activities, without me ever having to say anything.

So in reflecting back on the last half a year of school, I’d like to say, ’thank you’ to her teachers and therapists:

You took the time to see Mia as an individual.

You made it your priority to adapt and refine activities to meet Mia’s needs, even custom sewing items and crafting sensory devices for her to use in the classroom and at home.

I see the look on Mia’s face when she is in the classroom—and it is one of pure happiness.

It is a look that is rare to see in a new environment.

Thanks for making her feel at home.

There are days that Mia arrives home with the bus, that I can tell she is not feeling well or has had a hard day, just by how she is sitting or holding her head.

No sooner is she in the house, I get a call from you to tell me, what I already know.

Thank you for being so in-tune to my daughter’s needs that you take the time to call me.

But it is with mixed mommy feelings that I notice that Mia gets excited in the morning when she ride the bus lift in her wheelchair.

She is happy to go to school.

Any fear that she would feel abandoned that I don’t accompany her are gone.

Thank you for creating an environment where Mia looks forward to spending her days.

My daughter looks forward to her time in school.

She is understood.

Her needs are not just met—they are surpassed.

What more could parents ask for?

Thank you.


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