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Michelle’s Story…a Parent and a Paraprofessional

June 2016

Nath, Michelle 6-16-2016 My name is Michelle Nath. I work in an ASD classroom
 at Washington Elementary, which is a classroom
 through The Lincoln Center. I also have a son Ian, who
 is a student at Madison Center in an SXI classroom. 
 When I first sent Ian to school, I was completely
 terrified!! Even after the several tours (yes, I was that
 Mom that had to do more than one!) I had my little 3
 year old, tube fed, special needs baby….. going to
 school….. without me…… riding a bus….. on his own!!! I
 mean, I know they would take care of him, but could
 they take care of him as well as I could at home? He
 was not taken care of like I would at home – It was so
 much better!! Little did I know that I did not have the
 skills or knowledge to help Ian succeed in life! In the
 classroom, the teacher and paras constantly worked
 with Ian to accomplish goals that I never thought
 would be possible! The OT’s, PT’s, and speech
 pathologists worked with him to communicate, walk,
 and even made special gloves for him to learn to use
 his pointer finger for the I-Pad and to pick up small  objects (like M & M’s) with his two fingers! I really didn’t think these things could be possible for him to achieve – but he did it!! Also, when his helmet had to be used for more than keeping his head safe when he fell…. PBS gave us tools to decorate our home in red, yellow, green – which we still use every day!! Even the Nurse kept my mind at ease with his tube feedings – which was a major worry of mine!!  The communication I had with everyone was truly amazing and essential to the growth of Ian and me. Because seriously, we really had no idea what we were doing!! I felt so safe and secure knowing that Ian was truly in good hands! Everyone worked as a team – I know they not only had Ian in their best interest – but mine as well.  Being a team is so important in a classroom, not only for the kids, but the parents too. Knowing that when we are at our wits end, the teachers and paras can help us through with their knowledge and patience when we have nothing left!! In all honesty, we really depend on everyone at the school just as much as we count on the Doctors and their knowledge!! All of this is what teamwork meant to me as a parent. Which, without it, I really don’t know we would have survived!! I consider myself very fortunate and blessed for being able to do what I do for a job, and thankful that because of Ian I am standing here today telling some of our story! Seeing both sides as a parent and a paraprofessional has made me realize how completely important every single person in this program really is! You not only have been my voice of reason during the early difficult years of Ian’s life, but are still my voice on a daily at work!! I truly thank every one of you for giving me this AMAZING opportunity! Keep up the great work and know that you not only made a huge difference in my and Ian's life – but you are making a difference in the lives of the families you work with!!