Nicolas’ teacher, Natalie, shares how impressed she is with the progress Nicolas has made.
When I think of the children in my classroom, I think of them as all being special. They all have different abilities, needs, and personalities. But one child that stands out in particular is Nicolas. If I were to say, Nicolas gives me goosebumps or has been on the verge of tears each time he speaks, would you believe me? Here’s a little back story on Nicolas.
When I first met mom, she shared that Nicolas was on the spectrum. After reading his IEP, I knew I still needed to get to know Nicolas, so I could fully understand how to help him. Nicolas was three years old when he started in our program and he was nonverbal. If you asked Nicolas a question, he would try and give a one-word response, but most of the time we were unable to understand what he was saying. We used pictures to give Nicolas choices and made necessary accommodations when teaching lessons. Nicolas, even though he wasn’t able to use many words, was so quick to make friends. The children enjoyed playing with Nicolas, no one needed to speak, they just enjoyed each other’s company. Even though Nicolas wasn’t always able to communicate, he never gave up or became frustrated with me. He tried his best always and if he wasn’t able to do something or needed help, he would come tap my arm to let me know he needed me.
Nicolas, as the year went on, started to make improvements. He was using one- or two-word statements and was aware of the rules during center time. Unfortunately, COVID-19 happened, and we were forced to do virtual learning.
Our virtual learning consisted of us sending videos and activities to do at home with families. In September, when school started back up, we were still virtual. This time on a better platform where we would be able to see and interact with the children during our sessions.
When I first saw Nicolas, he was still a little shy, but it wasn’t until we were in a small group that I could see the tremendous improvement he had made. Nicolas is now speaking in full sentences, he is identifying letters and numbers, and identifying rhyming words. He even knows my name! To hear him say my name and answer questions gives me goosebumps.
His mom always thanks me for my patience with him and for working with him, but the thanks goes to her and her family. They advocated for their son, they continued his learning after class, and when his therapy sessions are over. They are the reasons the strides he is making. They are the real MVP’s.