Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010

Saturday, September 1, 2012

how one really good author can make a difference

This past Thursday our local weekly paper, The Township Journal, printed a special back-to-school insert. There is an article, 'How one really good teacher can make a difference', and we were thrilled to notice they included our honorable mention to Hayden's former teacher. Here it is in the third paragraph:

Well, we are thankful for the inclusion but some of you may also realize why we believe this deserves a reply.

Here is my email:

"Dear Sally,

I wanted to thank you for including our nod to Hayden's preschool and kindergarten teacher, Mrs. LaBouseur. What a wonderful surprise to see our feedback in the article 'How one really good teacher can make a difference'. I barely recalled submitting a few sentences in response to the ad that ran for a few weeks, to share if there was a teacher who had such a wonderful impact on your life. Out of context I had no idea what the responses might be used for, if anything, and without the online submission form really providing any additional information I sort of forgot about it. I am truly glad you encouraged readers to share the impact their teachers have had, and we are excited for Mrs. L to see it.

The article in itself is wonderful, and I think good teachers deserve recognition on an ongoing basis. When I submitted my Fragile X Awareness Day article last month (published under Viewpoints), I may not have mentioned but we never heard of the Andover Regional School district. We moved out here in 2005 due to our particular childcare arrangements, in anticipation of my return to work following my maternity leave. Well, before it was even time for Hayden to begin school we learned he has special needs.

From the very first moment we became familiar with Florence M. Burd School back in 2008, we were welcomed by a helpful, knowledgeable Child Study Team, a Principal who listens, very encouraging therapists, trustworthy aides, an unparalleled preschool teacher, and a kind, friendly bus driver. This school was undoubtedly an environment where our son Hayden would thrive. Even four years later, I can still accurately say the same thing about the people who work directly with him. His teachers, therapists and aides have remained so in-tune to Hayden's needs and are constantly evolving their techniques to match his progress and encourage his success. School is a place where our kids grow up, and it makes all the difference in the world when they are surrounded by people who believe in them.

I hope this puts in perspective just how meaningful it is for us, and how grateful we are, to have a public opportunity to give recognition to a teacher like Mrs. LaBouseur (such as on page 16, of the August 30th Township Journal).

That being said, I must clarify something.

Referring to how this is printed in the third paragraph, "Hayden's mother appreciates that Mrs. L... recognized the potential in her disabled son..." is not an accurate assessment. He is not our disabled son, he is our son... who happens to have Fragile X Syndrome. He is a person first. Disabled is not an accurate adjective to describe any human being, but may be more appropriate to give a description of a stranded car on the side of the road.

We use People First Language because we put the person before the disability. (I would encourage you and anyone else to please look up People First Language via any search engine, and learn a better perspective.) There is no such thing as a Down's child, or an autistic child, or a disabled child-- they may be a child with Down Syndrome or they may be a child with autism, but they are a child first.

Our language not only impacts the way we see a person, but it will impact the way they see themselves.

Hayden is not only a very social, charismatic, likable, lovable, funny, motivated, smart, and physically healthy child... he is arguably one of the happiest kids a person could meet. He is able to learn, and to play, and to interact with others and he easily finds his way into the hearts of nearly everyone he comes in contact with. He is not our disabled son. He is our son who is able to love life and it shows in everything he does.

Thank you for taking the time to read our feedback and once again, overall we do appreciate the inclusion. But as a mom, a caregiver, and an advocate I will always continue to demonstrate the utmost respect for my son. We hope moving forward, you maintain a similar perspective.

The Capela Family"