Hello. My name is Shiona Green and I am Isaac Neily’s mother.
When Isaac started attending St.Amant School almost 10 years ago we didn’t know exactly what to expect.
Our hopes were that he would be kept safe, be well cared for, be engaged in the world around him and be challenged to his full abilities.
What we discovered was a place where the emphasis and celebration of what you can do pushes what you can’t do far down the list of important things in life.
It’s a philosophy that could benefit us all.
The other discovery we made about St.Amant was its range of programs run by incredible people.
Music Therapy – If you’ve ever had the pleasure of walking through the corridors and hearing Grant singing his heart out you’ve witnessed someone who loves his job.
Swimming – If you’ve unpacked a wet swimsuit from your child’s knap sack in the evening you know someone’s given your child the opportunity to experience the freedom of swimming that day.
Ski doo rides, bicycle rides, field trips…
Motorized wheelchairs – incredibly Isaac was allowed to drive the hallways. No license but a lot of enthusiasm apparently and no casualties that we heard of.
Walks with supporting equipment – through the halls and around the halls and up and down the halls and finally enough!! The teacher’s tired.
Crafts sent home at Christmas, Hanukah, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day –
“From Isaac to Mum. Happy Mother’s Day. Love Isaac” the most recent one said. Leaves cut from the print of Isaac’s hand wrapped around a Styrofoam vase. I know Isaac didn’t actually make this by the way. But that’s okay. My other sons didn’t actually do a few science projects either.
Computer games, stories, paper shredding – not to be a braggart here but I’ve been told that if there was a Paper Shredding event at the Olympics, my dear Isaac would be a serious contender for gold. Can out shred anyone from here to Vancouver.
Achievement Awards – again – the focus on what our children CAN do and the celebration and recognition of this. On two separate occasions Isaac brought home Athlete of the Year Award and The Technology Award – we proudly display them in our home.
Physiotherapy – Speech Therapy– Occupational therapy – we’ve witnessed dedication and professionalism at the highest level consistently at St.Amant. I’ve relied on their knowledge and expertise time and time again.
Professionalism – If you’ve ever sat in on your child’s IEP you’ve witnessed a panel of experts that worked to customize an education plan to help your child reach his or her full potential.
I remember one IEP meeting when one of the goals was to help Isaac learn how to hang his coat on a hook every morning when he arrived at the classroom. I was dumbfounded. Can you teach Isaac that? I asked. Of course they confidently assured me. And they did. 4 out of 10 times that year, Isaac hung his coat on a hook. This may seem like a trivial task to you but this EXACT SAME TASK has been unteachable to Isaac’s two older brothers.
Today Isaac and his classmates graduate from St. Amant school. I’m certain that if Isaac could speak to you himself he would want to say thank you. Thank you for caring for me, for enriching my days, for teaching me to hang up my coat, for reading me stories and taking me to see tractors, for holding my head up in the pool. For not telling my mother the number of girlfriends I really have here.
I will miss all of you but since I wont be very far away, I hope I’ll see you all from time to time. Thank you for tolerating my mother and most importantly thank you for being my friend.