All It Takes Is One Person, One Awesome Teacher

Griffin normally has Japanese class at our house with his friend but this semester we have had to have class via Skype.

In addition to having an Aspergers diagnosis, Griffin also has an ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis. ADHD makes paying attention a challenge, even if he’s engaging in an activity that he’s interested in.

He also has a challenge with social cues, so it shouldn’t have surprised me when he started having difficulty with class being online.

I started to sense something might be up when I overheard his teacher having to give Griffin directions several times.

Griffin’s Japanese teacher Walker is amazing. He’s been teaching Griffin year round for almost two years. From the very start he’s asked questions so that he could better understand Griffin and help support him. He is genuinely excited to teach Griffin. Walker is the type of teacher we’ve always wanted for Griffin. A teacher who embraces him and who sees the amazingness that is Griffin.

Despite all of this when I got a text from Walker saying he wanted to talk to me about Griffin, my stomach got that all too familiar ache. I panicked thinking Walker was going to tell me he couldn’t teach Griffin anymore.

To some this reaction might seem dramatic or just plain nonsense but unfortunately this is based in reality.

The whole time Griffin was in traditional school, we would receive phone calls from the school and teachers. They just couldn’t understand him and often thought he was just a bad kid. He was in and out of five different schools from Kindergarten to third grade. Even some professionals in the field of autism were stumped as to what he needed.

I tried my best to stay in the moment as I spoke to Walker. He quickly picked up on my panic. I explained that I was having some kind of post traumatic stress. I told him that in the past all we ever experienced were people not being willing or able to work with Griffin.

Walker reassured me that that wasn’t the case with him. He had noticed that Griffin was having a hard time paying attention and he just wanted to know how to best help him. He asked me questions in hopes of better understanding Griffin and his needs.

I started to cry. I was so relieved. This was the teacher we knew existed but we had to wait so long to find.

I thanked Walker for being the kind of teacher Griffin deserved. A teacher that asked questions about him with the intention to help him. A teacher that enjoyed teaching and spending time with Griffin.

We came up with a plan for next week. Griffin would wear headphones that would be plugged into the computer to help him hear better and to also help with concentration.

Despite the success Griffin has been having being homeschooled, that pain and stress we experienced is always just a moment away.

This is a song I wrote that sums up how I felt and sometimes still feel. I don’t think it will ever completely go away.

2 thoughts on “All It Takes Is One Person, One Awesome Teacher

  1. Tammy Lathan

    We are just beginning this path with Jackson. He is in public school and in second grade. We have been so, so fortunate to have great teachers so far. Even though Autism is not their area of expertise, they have only wanted to better understand him and how to reach him. It’s been a tough week in particular this week and his teacher had to call me today to discuss his behavior. Even having had good experiences with his teachers, my stomach was in knots when I saw her name on my caller ID.

    It’s hard to understand the roller coaster of this life until you live it.


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