By the time he entered 4th grade, Joaquin had no bonds. He had never been invited to a fellow student’s birthday party. He was eating lunch and playing alone most days. Sometimes he was teased, and he began to lose that special spirit. He'd be sad at the end of the school day. It was heartbreaking.
Around that time, I remember thinking to myself that things would only continue getting harder, not easier. I went to watch him give a 5-minute oral presentation to his classroom near the end of his 4th grade year. He worked so hard and was concentrating on his annunciation. But several boys were snickering throughout his speech; that was the catalyst for me.
I knew right then we had to find a kinder, more inclusive environment that accepted and celebrated Joaquin and his differences. We shadowed at Stanbridge and knew from that day it was the right place for us! Not only does Joaquin feel completely accepted and at ease, but he has formed so many friendships with students and staff. He is confident. He’s happy. What more could a parent ask for?