Like many parents of kiddos experiencing special needs I was thrown into this world not really knowing what to do, what to expect and how to survive let alone thrive with my child, to help HIM thrive. By the time my son was five and entering Kindergarten I had no idea what to do about school and no idea how to get what I believe he needed. At the IEP elegibility meeting I tried to stand my ground and push for what I felt was best for my boy, but in the end the strong willed better informed school district won. Judah was placed in an SLCB classroom (Structured Learning Center for Behavior) I thought this type of placement was the end for him, an educational death sentence before he even got to begin. Little did I know what lay in store for him, and who God had set in our path to help.
I had no idea what to expect the day I entered Ms. Bach’s classroom. I walked in nervous and on edge, scared and unsure of what this was going to be like. She took one look at me with my nervous smile and non stop chatter, smiled shook my hand and said “your doing fine mom, and he’s going to do wonderful!” She let me look around the room a bit and then sent me off, promising again “He will do wonderful!” I did not know this woman, but for some reason her bright eyes and firm kindness set me at ease. J flourished in her class. My son went from a runner who took 20 minutes to corral in from recess to a boy who was eager to please and capable of mainstreaming for first grade. I volunteered one day a week in his class, doing anything I could to try to be of help to his class. After all, it’s what I’d done when he was in preschool, elementary should be no different. Ms. Bach Gladly put up with my chatter and wrote me lists of things to do, gave me encouragement and support and just let me be. I don’t know if she knew, but her allowing me to volunteer in her class helped me a lot and taught me so much. I can never repay her for what she did for us. She wasn’t just my son’s teacher, she gave us HOPE. While Judah flourished in her class, home was still a struggle. One day while asking her advice on applying her structure in class at home she said “well, maybe it’s time we did a home visit” I gladly accepted. I didn’t know this was not common practice for elementary school special ed teachers. My son’s head start and ESD teachers came over all the time. Ms. Bach spent a couple hours at our home. She sat on my couch and gave me pointers, skillfully observing and making sugestions, providing support and teaching skill. She was unwavering, patient and kind. After one trip of redirecting J back to his room for a nap I looked up to see her folding my pile of clean Laundry that was on the couch. With a smile she just nodded and gestured behind me ” take him back again, be consistent, your doing great.” J had come up behind me insistent on winning his way. I looked at her with gratitude in my tired eyes and said “thank you” it wasn’t enough, but there weren’t words adequate enough to express my grattitude. She just chuckled and pointed down the hall. I took J back to bed and she folded laundry. I learned so much from her that day. And not just about consistency and teaching my son, but about human kindness, love and dedication to those you serve and care about. It is rare these days to see someone, especially someone already giving so much go above and beyond, but Lisa Bach certainly does. She’s not just a teacher, she’s a parent, foster parent, grandma and fearless advocate and friend to our special needs community, she is apart of us and we are a part of her. I always tell moms with newly diagnosed kiddos “find your village, find your tribe, and you’ll be just fine” she may have not used those exact words, but I learned that philosophy from Lisa Bach. Judah only got to be in her class one year but I will never forget the gift she gave us. The impact she had on my son and our family will last forever. Lisa opened up a whole world for us, she never wavered in her confidence in J or her support of my ability to help my son. She always said “He will be ok, he’s brilliant, he’s capable, he will succeed!” That’s something a mom needs to hear and I believed her, because she genuinely believed it and that gave me the strength to see it and fight for it and believe it too. I’m the advocate for him that I am today because of Lisa Bach, her example and love and talent. It’s because of her I had the guts to take on some pretty big issues this year. She doesn’t know that, but it is. Without that example and gentle but firm push in the right direction, I don’t know where we would be today. Lisa helped us find ACAP (Autistic CommunityActivity Program ) a summer program for individuals experiencing Autism, she helped me find my voice as a mom and an advocate, she helped my boy feel safe and enjoy school for almost the first time ever. To this day, the best year and academic success J has had was in Kindergarten in Lisa Bach’s class and we couldn’t have done it without her. Lisa helped us see our son’s potential and showed me how to dream add believe and advocate. I plan to get my masters in social work administration and have my own non profit someday, advocating for other families affected by disability, and I owe that dream to Lisa. When I meet moms of kids who are at the beginning of their journey, who look like I did, scared and shell shocked, I think of Lisa and I say ” you’re doing great mama, he will be fine. It WILL be ok!” And it’s true. Lisa Bach taught me the value of community and the true meaning of love and sacrifice by going above and beyond for our son and our family. There’s so many more stories I could tell, but that would take too many words 🙂 So to close I just will say: Thank you Lisa for loving my boy, for giving us hope, for being patient with a scared talketive mom and helping us find our tribe. We are forever greatful.
Much Gratitude and Love,