Saturday, March 10, 2012

Raising a Child with Special Needs

Tonight's post comes from the heart and is dedicated to my beautiful daughter, Tessa.  It comes from the personal side that I experience from raising a child with Down Syndrome, diabetes, Celiac Disease, and a thyroid disorder.  And for all of the teachers out there that go the extra mile, work those extra hours, ponder how to modify lessons to include our children, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  

It's that time of the year again for many parents of children with special needs.  It's either IEP time or time to think about the placement of where our children will be the next year. Change is hard for everyone.  Yet, change is especially hard for parents who have a child with special needs.  We have to trust that schools make the right choice in placing our children with the right teacher and the right amount of services.  And as Tessa nears the end of her education with one year to go in the public school system, I find myself looking back at the long road we travelled to get to this place. It hasn't always been easy.  We've had our share of "good times" and "challenging times."  But ultimately, we have travelled down a path that led my daughter to many wonderful friends, peers, and teachers. 

I wrote this very personal poem last year and had kept it tucked away in "My Documents" on my computer. I looked at it the other day and decided that maybe it was time to share with others. So here is a very personal glimpse into my life and how hard IEP meetings can be for parents. And let's never forget that behind every student, there is a family that deserves our respect and support.
My beautiful daughters Tessa and Brandi

So for all of the teachers who will be attending IEP's this spring and next fall, here is a strategy for working with families of children with special needs.  Make a mental picture of this poem and remember how hard "IEP Day" can be on parents.  Then think of 3 positive things about your students with special needs in your class and share it with their families.  Thank you for caring and giving so much every day.

Thanks for stopping by.  Tomorrow is FREE Smart Board Sunday!


  1. Beautiful poem! I have had the opportunity to work and learn from students like your child, Tessa as a mainstream teacher. I learned so much from this experience. IEPs, SSTs can be very intimidating especially if you are not familiar with school jargon. I think it is important that we break it down as much as possible; especially for the families I work with

    1. Thank you for sharing and understanding from the perspective of families. And most of all, thank you for all that you do for our special children every day.