A Major Part of Our Village – Raising a Child With Special Needs

Kids Have Strokes, TooWe’ve all heard that it takes a village to raise a child. When you are raising a child with special needs, that expression becomes a complete reality.

My husband and I both work full-time and have very fulfilling careers, so after we got married and started a family, we were very fortunate that my mother and his mother agreed to watch Olivia and Evan at our house until each of them turned a year old. That was actually a double blessing for us where Evan was concerned, because both grandmas spent enough waking hours with him that they noticed he wasn’t using his right hand and insisted that we have him checked by his pediatrician.

About a month after his first birthday, Evan started daycare at Bright Ideas – the daycare that his sister and his cousins, Madison and Johanna, had attended. I have to admit that I was apprehensive about sending him to daycare at first. After all, he was my baby and a stroke survivor, and he couldn’t stand up by himself, he was barely crawling, he couldn’t hold a sippy cup yet. Naturally, he survived, and then he thrived. He graduated from the baby room to the toddler room and then to the next toddler room, and with each new room and each progression, he received more and more love and support from the amazing staff and teachers at Bright Ideas. I fondly remember the first time he got in trouble. I immediately called the director, Miss Anna Marie, to talk to her about what Evan had done, and she was thrilled, because he was acting just like she would expect a little boy to act. I also remember when Evan took his first steps, the staff and teachers cheered and cried right along with us.

Last year, Evan found two of his biggest advocates – Ms. Jackie and Ms. Leslie. These amazing ladies taught Evan his numbers, letters, shapes, and colors. They celebrated with him as he learned to use the potty, and they practiced tough love as he learned his boundaries. Last May, they went above and beyond my expectations by organizing several events to honor Evan during Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month, and even though he has moved on to the Pre-K class, they are honoring him again this year.

In Evan’s life, there is a pretty big village. There are his doctors and therapists and his family and friends. Then, there are the people who take care of him nine hours a day five days a week. So, today’s special thing about Evan is that he is a part of the Bright Ideas village. And, a special thank you to everyone at Bright Ideas for being a part of Team Evan.