Until you are the parent of a child like my little Joey, you may not fully comprehend what it’s like to have a school like the Linda Nolen Learning Center for your child to attend. These are not your typical teachers – not by a long shot. They ride in ambulances when one of their students is rushed to Children’s Hospital, they deal with almost as much bodily fluids (and I mean from ALL ENDS) as the parents have to at home. And even though they may have less than ten children in their class, they all have varying and often multiple disabilities – many requiring medical equipment, wheelchairs, walkers, etc. They have to know how to communicate with these children who are non-verbal – and they are able to, understanding what their different facial expressions, moans and sounds mean. Seizures are a daily occurrence, along with emotional melt-downs and outbursts. I’ve seen first hand how they interact with the students and it’s like they are their own children, it is the closest thing to a family outside of my own that I’ve ever encountered. What I love most is that they do not see Joey’s disability; rather, what he may be capable of doing. Goals are set, limits pushed, small victories celebrated with the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning. They are somehow able to tap into each child’s creative outlet coming up with wonderful & stimulating activities that I would never have thought of and they let each child express themselves freely. It’s not unusual for Joey to come home with green paint under his fingernails or Kool-Aid stains on his shirt from a painting project gone wild. The teachers at LNLC put into practice what I’ve always believed about children, regardless of their ability, and that is, that every student can learn, but it just might not be on the same day or in the same way.
There are very few, and I mean very few, people I trust Joey with and I can honestly say that while he is at school, I don’t worry. Well, ok, I worry; I’m a mom, that’s what we do. But I never question if he is being loved and cared for. Personally, I have a special place in my heart for all teachers; I think like nursing, it’s a calling. You obviously don’t enter teaching to become a millionaire. But to work at a school like LNLC requires a level of love, patience and compassion that leaves me speechless. I’m impressed with everyone at LNLC – from the lady at the front desk who Joey flirts with incessantly, to the counselor, the nurses (yes, Joey flirts with those two as well), the teachers, administration …even the janitorial staff – they all know these kids and interact with them. But most importantly, the students know they are loved – hugs and smiles are never in short supply.
The staff at LNLC is nothing short of amazing and today I felt the need to share that with everyone.
Something to think about….
“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the special need teacher’s job.” ~D. Quinn