I've heard conflicting reports as to whether this whole week is Teacher Appreciation Week or if today is Teacher Appreciation Day, but either way our family has a lot to be thankful for. I sent cards along with Ian to school today...seven of them. He has a main classroom teacher, two aides in his classroom, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, and an adaptive physical education teacher, all of whom needed to be thanked for the diligent and outstanding work they do with Ian each week. I'm in awe of the progress he's made over this past school year, and a large part of the credit goes to his teachers and therapists. They all possess the drive, patience, and humor that it takes to work with Ian day in and day out. As he grows I hope I will always be able to say that his teachers are as excellent as the ones he has this year.
Outside of school there are also three other important people who are helping Ian and our family. He receives outpatient therapy from physical, occupational, and speech therapists on a weekly basis in the afternoons. These three therapists have been working with Ian since he was two, and I'm so glad they are a part of our lives. Not only do they work well with Ian, but they answer my questions, give me advice, and come with me to testify at the appeal hearings when their therapy sessions with Ian get cut. Unlike Ian's school therapy, I sit in on all the outpatient sessions, so this time is really invaluable for me to learn exercises and techniques for home use. Though they aren't technically teachers, they sure do teach Ian (and me!) a whole lot, so they need to be appreciated too.
I also genuinely want to thank others in our lives that are teachers. My mother-in-law has been an elementary school teacher for over 20 years, and is always finding things from her personal teacher stash to pass on to me for Ian. She's interested in how Ian is doing in school and what kinds of new things he's learning. One of my best friends, whom I've known since kindergarten, is just starting out in the world of teaching but she's doing a great job. She's always willing to help me out with Ian, and also listens to me gripe when problems arise. I always tell people she's the kind of teacher you want your kid to have. Another family friend is an elementary school teacher and has been in my life since I was born. One summer I remember going with her to set up her classroom, and that experience made me consider becoming a teacher myself. Even our neighbor across the street is a special education teacher in our district, and I'm so thankful for the advice she gives me about Ian's schooling.
I'm so grateful for all the teachers in my life, and those that are now in Ian's life. Too often, teachers are under appreciated for the excellent, and sometimes difficult, work they do with our children. It is very important work, and not work that should be taken lightly. Having a child with special needs has made me all the more thankful for their help, knowledge, and guidance, which I value so much!
Thank you to all the teachers, aides, therapists, and daycare workers out there!