‘My tiny Autism warrior has one of the best teachers. Not joking- we hit the jackpot. I don’t take it for granted for a second.’

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“I absolutely love teachers. I. Love. Them.

If you want to meet the most selfless, hardworking people on the planet just step into a classroom.

Audrey, my tiny Autism warrior, has one of the best. (Audrey has autism, a language delay, and moderate to severe anxiety.) Not joking- we hit the jackpot. This is the second year we’ve been graced by her and I don’t take it for granted for half a second.

And It isn’t the second year by chance. Audrey was placed in a different classroom this year. A class with a like-wise amazing teacher; but without the specializations much needed for Audrey’s disabilities. However, after many frantic emails to Audrey’s previous teacher Ms. Gardner (aka our personal special needs mana from heaven) she was suddenly and miraculously placed into a specialized classroom with her former teacher.

By suddenly, I mean Ms. Gardner personally took Audrey’s IEP to the central office, to the head of the special education department and said hey, read this!! We love our girl, and yes, she academically performs well, but she needs more and it’s our job to provide it.

And provide they did, but by the grace and grit of one determined teacher.

So Yes, I absolutely love teachers. As a former teacher I’ve been blessed to experience some of the finest within the classroom and now as a mother the tradition continues.

But this blog isn’t about teachers.

It’s about the paraprofessionals. The aides. The helpers. The holders. The snugglers and errand runners. The cheerleaders, the paper passers and pencil holders. This is for the backpack zippers. The copy runners, and laminators. The quiet encouragers. This is for the hallway monitors, front door greeters, and bathroom helpers. This is for the backbone of every classroom across America. For all the spines with soft spots who love our children when we can’t.

Meet Miss Amanda. She is one of the biggest reasons Audrey is successful. Amanda is Audrey’s personal aide, but I think of her more as her second momma. Amanda is Audrey’s safe place in a world full of scary. The most phenomenal thing about Amanda? She loves my daughter. Not like kind of loves, feels partial, is okay with wiping her butt love.

She truly loves Audrey.

She loves her on her good days and loves her even more on her bad ones. She loves her soft spots and jagged edges. She cares. Not for a paycheck (which seriously isn’t even kind of enough) she cares because she sees the value in my child, when sometimes this world can’t.

Amanda, in her own way, carries our country every time she chooses to carry my child. Which is frequently.

Hug all the teachers… but please don’t forget the helpers. They are, after all, called support staff for a reason.

Support- (v) bear all or part of the weight of; hold up.

Remember who bears the weight today friends, because it takes a village.

Love and light.
This one is for Amanda.”

Jennifer Chaitman

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Abby Murphy. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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