When Aiden came to Growing Together Preschool a year and a half ago, he wasn’t interested in speaking or eating. Being away from his family was difficult but Ms. Deb, Aiden’s first teacher at GTP, was glad he came.
Growing Together Preschool is a special place for all children, especially those like Aiden who require additional support. Ms. Deb knew GTP had a team of people at the ready who could help Aiden thrive and support his family along the way.
Ms. Maria became Aiden’s teacher when he turned 3 and she remembers a shy boy who wouldn’t remove his hat during the day or maintain eye contact. “That’s where we started,” she explained, “but we’ve come so far.” Like Ms. Deb, Ms. Maria knew GTP was the right place for Aiden. Ms. Maria has been with the school for 19 years and knows that many of her coworkers have been around just as long. “That amount of experience gives you a better way of understanding children.”
In addition to unwavering support from his teachers, Aiden receives support from therapists on site at school. In many cases, Aiden doesn’t even have to leave his classroom for his therapy sessions. Kristy, Aiden’s Occupational Therapist, sees such value in this distinguishing practice at GTP. “Aiden and I are able to join in activities in the classroom, play with the same toys that the other kids are, and use that as a way to work toward goals.” Kristy is also proud of the work the GTP community does to support Aiden’s family. “We have a network of people who know what’s coming next, what resources are out there, and the best ways to make transitions smooth for Aiden.”
Sharon, Aiden’s Speech Pathologist, thinks Aiden has progressed further than any child she’s worked with in her 42 years in the profession. She credits most of that to Ms. Maria. “Maria doesn’t treat him any differently,” she explains. “I’ve been enough places to know that how Aiden is treated here, with clear expectations and routines, is unique. He’s learned to trust us.”
“The progress he has made is wonderful. I cry every time I think about it,” said Aiden’s mother, Natasha. “I hope Aiden can show people that their kids can overcome the hardest obstacles.”
Today, Ms. Deb sees Aiden in the hallway and is in awe of how he’s improved. Ms. Maria beams as she reflects on how far Aiden has come. “He wasn’t interested in interacting with other kids. Now he’s just one of the kids. Aiden is very special to us and we are so proud of the progress he’s made.”