In honour of the International Day of Education, we created a contest to celebrate the work that school staff across Canada have done to support individuals with FASD. We asked Canadians to nominate those teachers, principals, bus drivers, and administrators who have gone above and beyond to help their students succeed. Here are some of our favorite entries!
I appreciate the opportunity to nominate Mr. H, a Grade 6 teacher in Wellington Catholic District School Board. Although it has taken an entire team at the school to create a positive environment, I know that Mr. H makes a difference to my daughter’s wellbeing on a daily basis. With my 11-year old’s anxiety rising as a result of her FASD she sadly has attempted to run away several times from school. Mr. H will be the first to jump in his car and bring her back to safety. When she is angry, and at times violent towards staff and students, he will sit quietly with her while she calms down or he’ll help with the much-needed EMS service call. He is always emailing with local supports for us that he researches on his own time and always emailing with kind words of support for us, which means the world. Mr. H adjusts his busy day to ensure my daughter’s seating is correct, she has 1-1 support, she is supported by the right peers, she gets the breaks she needs, and there are minimal surprise transitions during the day. We thank him for his support and extra care.
My son’s learning support person is Mr. G from Ontario. He actively listens when I talk to him about FASD and my son’s needs, and he focused on building a relationship of trust with my family first. My son felt safe and began to take some risks that he has never done before. For the first time in his whole educational career my son actually received grades, as opposed to an “I” for insufficient data. The whole secondary school team is fabulous, but I would especially like to acknowledge Mr. G.
I would like to acknowledge Mr. L, a principal at the school my daughter attended. At this time, we didn’t have a confirmed diagnosis of FASD, but J was struggling emotionally. Her inability to control her behaviour interfered with her ability to participate in most curriculum activities. Mr. L saw through this to recognize Jazzy J’s (a nickname only he was allowed to use) strengths and qualities. Mr. L connected with J in ways that not only supported her during this difficult time but gave her skills that developed her confidence to be the independent person she is today. Amongst many things our daughter struggled with hyperactivity. Mr. L recognized that she needed movement, lots of movement. He would gear up and play floor hockey with her, mostly during class time, when he knew she needed a body break. He would allow her to work in his office when she found the classroom noise to be overwhelming, and often gave her meaningful jobs to keep her busy. I regret not sharing my appreciation for him going above and beyond to make sure J felt that she was a valuable part of the student body. We are very grateful for the dedication he showed our daughter during these difficult times.
We’d like to thank all those school staff who go above and beyond on a daily basis to support students with FASD. If you’d like to learn more about FASD and educational supports please take our online learning course, check out our resources, or read our blog.
Happy International Education Day!