CHANGE: New Year, New School, New Teachers

(Guest post by Monica McDivitt – Monica blogs at Like a Butterfly)

Have you ever felt this way??

This summer I tried desperately to figure out the best way to introduce Samantha to her new teachers and new school without focusing solely on her disabilities. Samantha is hearing impaired, cognitively delayed, motor delayed and does not have verbal communication skills. Transitions from one environment to another are usually most challenging because, in actuality, one cannot simply sit down and tell Samantha what is going to happen next because she does not understand this level of communication. Samantha is often confused and afraid during transitions and this often leads to resistance and discontent. Consequently, I am often left with a sick feeling – like I have abandoned or mislead her in some way. I also feel as if Samantha is left wondering “What happened?” As her mother, the one thing I can do to make it better for Samantha (and myself) is to help her teachers, paraprofessionals, therapists and other service providers to know and understand who she truly is, what her strengths are and what she enjoys the most. To do this, I needed to figure out a way to provide a substantial amount of information in a comprehensive but concise manner. If you have ever felt this way, then there is something you can do to help ease your mind and heart- make a portfolio about your child.

When I handed a big binder full of information about Sam to her new teacher on Sam’s first day of 6th grade, I was told it was a “teacher’s dream.” When Sam got out of school that day, a substitute teacher greeted me and told me how smart I was and congratulated me on doing such a nice job. I smiled and really appreciated the compliment but I love and care about my Sam and this is why I did it, not because I am “smart” or wish to be “supermom.” Sam is my world and I want people to know her and understand her like John and I do.

Yes, it took some time and effort but she is worth it and your child is too! Hope this helps someone. :)

Things I included:

FAMILY
Our Vision for Samantha.
Samantha Facts
Samantha’s Family
What Makes Samantha Unique?
History of Sam

SOCIAL
I am Sam. Sam I am.
If You Knew Sam Like I Know Sam…

EDUCATION
Early Childhood Intervention, PPCD, Elementary
Evaluation, School Photos & Artwork

MEDICAL
Genetics Report
How 18q- Affects Samantha
18q- Syndrome

HELPFUL HINTS
Sam’s Hearing Aids
Language Skills
Lunch Time with Sam.
More about Sam’s Needs
Contact Information

INSPIRATION
Magazine Articles including Sam
Blogs
Different Iz Good Articles about Sam
People First Language

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor.  Please see their details on our Contributors page.  If you’d like to guest post for Different iz Good check out our Write for DIG page for details about how YOU can share your stories and tips with our community.

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About Monica

Monica is married to her best friend, John, and is a proud mommy to her sweet, beautiful 10 year-old daughter, Samantha. Samantha was born with multiple disabilities as a result of a chromosome 18q- deletion. Samantha is Monica's inspiration for the many volunteer projects that she participates in for children and adults with disabilities. Her current project is a buddies program she created in 2007 for Samantha's elementary school in Katy ISD. The program is slowly expanding and now exists in one other elementary school and two middle schools. Her vision has been to create an environment where differences are accepted and attempts are made to educate those who may be fearful or unaware in relation to the culture of disability. She is achieving this by teaching all children and teens, with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities, to embrace differences and become caring friends. Monica has a background in ER Nursing and Cardiology Research Nursing.

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