When the time came to find daycare for my oldest child, Rachel, I researched, interviewed and lamented over the perfect choice. When the time came to do the same for my special needs toddler, Nicholas, the process was much more difficult. Just thinking about it was overwhelming, making it hard for me to move forward in my search. But I persevered.
Nicholas developed spastic Cerebral Palsy, with increased weakness on the left side, as a result of a cardiac arrest when he was nine months old. He is quadriplegic and doesn’t walk or talk. When he aged out of Early Intervention, my school district urged me to enroll him in a school-based program to receive his therapies.
After researching the limited number of appropriate programs available in the otherwise overly abundant childcare in my area, I found a school that served both typical and special needs toddlers as part of its mission.
I liked everything about the school. Still, I developed TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders) from all my anxiety over Nicholas going to school and being out of my sight for six hours a day.
Soon after Nicholas began school, I met his classroom teacher’s assistant, Louise. I quickly saw the special way she had when she interacted with him and the other preschoolers, those with special needs and typical toddlers alike. Their smiles, sounds and body gestures were of happiness and different from when they interacted with anyone else they encountered.