Happy New Year Everyone!
I am often brought back to the day I stood in the parking lot of Valley View, not knowing one single other parent of a special needs child at the school. Inspired by my son’s amazing pre-school teacher, an idea was born. Determined to succeed, I was on a mission to find another mom or dad willing to hear a crazy idea. I was about to embark on a path of another’s failed attempts to start a special needs PTA...would I succeed? Without a clue what I was doing or where I was headed, I was filled with the motivation and desire to pursue this big, bodacious idea which could only be fueled by the love for my son, Nathan.
Then there was Kim Weaver. Bubbly. Approachable. Incredibly nice. Willing to listen to my crazy idea. “How would you like to help start a PTA?” Kim was very sincere in her reply of, “Well, I’d love to, but we are planning to move away soon.” (Yay, she didn’t say “no”.) And that, my friends, was the beginning.
One year and three months later, Kim, you and I have all become part of a big, bodacious idea that has morphed into a reality. With a long pathway ahead full of potential, our children will profit greatly, however, not without help. Improved accommodations. Better communication. Positive relationships with schools and teachers. Parents educated in their children’s educational rights. Motivated & passionate teachers. I could go on. I am no different from any of you, or any other parent for that matter, with regard to wanting equal opportunities for my child. My amazing son has so much potential to do more than those before him, but only if I can help that potential become a reality. Therein lies my passion. You know exactly what I am talking about.
All of us, as well as the parents of the other 4,026 special needs students in Highline School District (2012-13/ OSPI), have a great amount of work to do in order that our kids receive the kind of education that ensures not just an average outcome, but the greatest outcome which will guarantee them a chance for a fulfilling and successful life as our current research and scientific advances have predicted is possible. I won’t take no for an answer. And I shouldn’t.
These are exciting times, I feel, for Special Education. A voice of many. Improved laws in place from which we can stand firm. Better pathways of communication to get the word out and advocate. We have each other, and for that especially, I am grateful. This Highline Special Needs PTA is a reality because of our combined efforts and talents. I am very proud of the amazing organization we have become. I’m forever learning new things and I make numerous mistakes along the way (just ask Kim). I may not remember the details of yesterday, but I sure do see tomorrow and that path ahead needs some serious road work.
I appreciate each one of you and the contributions you have made to the special needs community, to my own family, and especially, my son. And now with Kim's departure from our organization (and state) I also want to send a giant THANK YOU to her for being willing to take on this position and idea with me. It would not have been possible without you and we can already see positive changes in the relationships with administrators, teachers and parents all because we have something in common. A very worthy passion. Thank you for all that you do.
Here's to a groundbreaking 2014 in Special Education!
"Keep Moving Forward"
~ From the movie "Meet The Robinson's"