Last night I received the best contribution yet to my campaign. Some members of the Special Needs Community in Haddonfield organized an event for me last night. It wasn’t so much about campaigning, but an opportunity for me to hear what their concerns are and learn what they need from a BOE member.
I walked away humbled and so grateful they took the time to educate me.
Here are 5 takeaways for me:
- The burden these parents face is remarkable. They have become experts in a part of the educational system that most of us don’t appreciate. ABA, IEP, BCBA…they learn an entirely new language in the service of their child.
- The search for consistency of services and staff is a constant challenge. I think the school and the parents are constantly wrestling with this.
- They feel supported in Haddonfield and grateful for what our schools provide (but it still takes a lot of work from the parents).
- Greater awareness among parents whose kids do not have special needs is an amazing opportunity. Kids with special needs DO NOT bring a classroom down, they ENRICH it.
- Finally…Shani and I both left feeling blessed to be in the same community as these parents.
And then after a meaningful and important conversation, we all hung out for another hour laughing and having a great time.
My deepest gratitude to everyone who attended and shared their experience with me.