My son with autism is constantly teaching me!

stefan happy 18 Stefan presented with me at Rider University! It’s been several years that I have been invited to a Fall Class at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ to speak to a group of graduate students who are Special Ed and Gen Ed teachers. The class is entitled ‘Collaboration, Consultation and the Inclusive Classroom. My guest speaker discussion is from

a parent perspective and is designed to enlighten educators about parents, where we are coming from, how our lives have been effected by raising a child with special needs and what a parent expects from teachers. I always saw this as an important discussion to help bridge the gap and really have parents and professionals truly be a team to support a child/student to the best of our abilities. It was wonderful as usual. I love telling about my journey: the joys and heartaches, and laughter and crying, which are all part of who I am. It is

so gratifying when the class is over and the graduate students tell me how much I moved them and what they will take away from this discussion and how they will

really think about what they say and do because they understand how it truly effects the parent. One exception this year was that my 18 year old son, Stefan, was with me. I knew it would be great but, of course,

I was hoping and praying that things would go well. That he would behave by staying relatively quiet and he could show everyone how far he has come. You see Stefan is non verbal and uses his iPad with Proloquo2Go to speak for him. His body has to cooperate and his motor planning needs to be good to allow him to successfully ‘get it out’. Every time he came to the front

of the class to ask for my help I was nervous what would happen. In summary, Stefan was amazing. When he needed a password he brought me his iPad and navigated the communication cells and asked for the password. Then he wanted something and came to the front of the class and typed it out for all eyes to see. I saw wonder, excitement and amazement on the faces of these wonderful educators who saw that you have to assume intelligence and assume someone can do something, despite the fact you don’t see signs it’s possible. Thank you Stefan for continually teaching me. You are MY hero.