Dear Preschool Teacher, From a Special Needs Mom
This year my daughter turns 3. She ages out of the comfort and security we’ve come to know with Early Intervention, and enters the world of school. Preschool looms on our horizon, and to me she is still my baby.
Because you are a special needs preschool teacher, I know her delays are not foreign to you. I know you have many strategies in your toolbox to help her continue to grow and learn. Please do not lose patience if I ask why you chose the one you did. I’m not questioning your education, I want to learn how to help her too.
As she struggles to take off her coat or put a shoe on after it’s fallen off, please remember she was unbuckled from her rear-facing car seat this morning. Please remember she has only been walking for six months. And please be patient when her little fingers don’t have the coordination for buttons or zippers yet.
As she cries or hits when she doesn’t want to do something, please remember she doesn’t have words to express herself, and I know she must be so frustrated. Please correct her behavior, and guide her toward expressing herself with words and signs like we do at home.
As she proudly uses her utensils to eat her own lunch, please gently wipe her face, covered in applesauce, as she beams with pride that she’s a big girl. I know it’s an extra step in your day, but she needs that independence.
As she climbs on her little bus in the afternoon please don’t think I don’t yearn to be the one picking up and dropping her off each day. I’m not absent from her school day because I don’t care. You won’t see me because I have my own class of 25 third graders across town. Please don’t judge her home life based on a glimpse of her day. I am entrusting you with a piece of my heart.
As she walks down the hall, wearing a bookbag as big as she is, please do not underestimate her. She is tiny, but she is strong. Don’t allow her size to become her crutch; she will rise to the expectations given to her. And we’re shooting for the moon.
A Special Needs Mom
Have you seen the first film with a national release to star a person with Down syndrome? Check out the film “Where Hope Grows” today!