Claire Wiegand's Story: 2000 - 2001
Claire switched schools again this year because she had outgrown elementary school. She was now age-equivalent to a sixth grader, so she attended Westfield Intermediate School, which is in a different school system but still part of the tri-county cooperative that pools their resources to provide one or two classes for children with severe-to-profound disabilities. It's amazing to realize that the one to two dozen kids Claire's been going to school with all these years represent the most severely disabled kids in her age group attending school in three counties, and that there aren't any more than these. Over the years, we've grown to love her classmates.
This was the year we met Claire's teacher, Heather Stephenson, and her aide, Brooke. We had been spoiled by a great teacher and aide before, and were relieved to find that Claire was in great hands once again. Heather arranged to have two children from her class attend a camp field trip for several days with her regular peers, and she encouraged us to let Claire go. We had never considered that she'd be able to go on a trip like this, but it's clear from the pictures that came back with her that she had a good time and was well cared for.
We had one small medical scare this year. During summer school, Claire was on a picnic field trip and came home with a spider bite on her leg. Since she can't speak and doesn't react as strongly to pain, she had no way to tell us until we saw the infected streaks running down her leg. Antibiotics cleared it right up, but it was a little frightening.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy