Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My First Public Testimony About My Sons

Photo by Heather Withrow, 1/24/2013.
On January 24, 2013, I had the opportunity to share with the Texas Senate Finance Committee a very brief story on how Texas School for the Deaf made a difference in my sons' progress since we moved here.  The room we went to was underground!  It was the total opposite of a dungeon!  The superintendent of TSD, Claire Bugen, explained to the Committee two key items TSD needs more funds for: 1) support for additional staff to work with Deaf students with additional disabilities and 2) funds for building maintenance.  A small congregation of TSD supporters watched on.  Three other parents shared testimonies for TSD, too.  A mother spoke on behalf of her family.  They, like us, moved from Maryland last August so their child could attend TSD!  (I was so thrilled to meet them at TSD's New Student Orientation in August, they were from Bowie which is the next town over from our old hometown, Glenn Dale. Small world!)

I signed (not spoke!) asking for support for additional staff at TSD.  Yes, TSD did serve Deaf students with additional disabilities; they had to borrow staff from other parts of the school.  It worked, it made a difference and my kids are on the right track.

Skyler is doing so much better in school and home than he has in the last two years and in my own words a walking reminder to TSD staff of the good job they're doing.

Orion needs a wide variety of support service providers (that he's already receiving), the whole point of my testimony to the Committee for more support staff at TSD.  Especially when Orion ages out of Early Childhood Intervention when he turns 3 years old this summer. (I must mention this: Kendall School/Prince Georges County, MD Infants-Toddlers Program/CBSS get credit for giving Orion a good, strong start... he continues to grow slowly but truly here in Texas. We have not forgotten you!)  

I was so nervous!  I was proud of my boys and believe in those who worked with Skyler and Orion.  One line from my testimony was, "This was not a miracle; this was teachers, staff and administration at TSD doing their jobs."

Of course, Thomas and I had a lot to do with it, too.  It really does take a village 2 IEP Teams to raise Skyler and Orion.

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