Claire Wiegand's Story: 1996 - 1997
Shortly after Claire turned seven, I remarried and Claire got a stepdaddy who adores her. Tom has adjusted to being a stepparent very well, and all three of Claire's parents attend her case conference and parent-teacher meetings now. Tom worked at home in the afternoons so he could get Claire off the school bus every day. Claire cooperated by watching videos and playing in her room until Mom and Jill came home. She started using a Big Mack switch that plays a message (recorded by her sister) when she presses it. It says "I want to watch a video," and she hits it the instant the credits start to roll in whatever video she's watching.
This year, Claire went to Smoky Row Elementary. Moving Claire to the Severe-To-Profound Mental Disabilities class there turned out to be a wise choice. Here, she was viewed as having potential, and she was able to participate in activities much better geared for her. Her classroom was therapy-based, so she was constantly presented with stimulating activities, including using switches to answer questions and make choices. She began to use both switches and a mouse with the computer, and she began throwing and catching objects (well, maybe tossing gently and reaching for objects, but it's progress!). She started to give hugs and makes "I love you" sounds when she does.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy