Parents of Children with Special Needs
Luke is such a special baby. We picked GSS long before we knew about any of Luke's health concerns because of the warmth, compassion, organization, technology, and reputation. We had no idea what an ordeal we'd be going through above and beyond new parenthood during Luke's first couple months of life. His newborn heart surgery brought on medication requirements, physical limitations during recovery, challenges with eating, and risks related to his remaining congenital heart defect. We were so worried that upon communicating this news we would find ourselves without a willing and qualified option for infant care for our son. I was in tears after speaking with Mara, the director of early learning, on the phone, and telling her about Luke's condition the first time because I couldn't believe how understanding, compassionate and optimistic she was. It gave us so much confidence and faith that GSS was so willing to teach and care for our son, even with his medical condition. That faith and confidence in the competence and compassion at GSS has only strengthened in the last 8 weeks, and we are so excited to watch Luke continue to grow and thrive in school!
Miss Erma, Miss Charlene, Miss Abrea, and all the teachers who interact with Luke and us are fantastic. Since I am usually pick-up, I interact most with Miss Erma. She is incredible. She is so attune to Luke's progress, needs, challenges, and accomplishments. Every day she takes extra care to talk to me about his growth and development, even asks questions about how things are going at home. She makes welcome suggestions when I ask for advice, and gladly adopts any adjustments we make to Luke's schedule or activity plan. Miss Abrea is usually there for pick-up as well, and I always appreciate how she will share anecdotes about Luke's day. They both even remembered when it was Kevin and my anniversary after I had mentioned it in passing some days earlier. Luke loves them too, I can tell because even when I come to pick him up he is still smiling at them and telling them stories! The couple times I have dropped Luke off in the morning with Miss Charlene, I can just tell they have a special connection, and it's the only reason I can stand to leave him and head to work : ).
We love the Tadpoles app, and how thorough his teachers are about using it. The notification ring on my phone alerting that there is a new photo of Luke is now the best sound of my work day. It is so helpful to read the details of his day, from how much he's eaten, slept, to what diapers he's had and what activities he's done. We read it every day. We also share all of the pictures with Luke's grandparents, who love them all, too!
We are so impressed with Luke's classroom. There are so many wonderful interactive toys and activities for the kids. Everything is so well organized, I have always felt confident that Luke was safe and clean and well attended to at school. Using the app to inform us of supply needs is very helpful, also. Oh! And we love that Luke gets so much outside time under the gazebo. We can tell at home that Luke loves to be outside, and we fully attribute it to his gazebo time at school! We appreciated the formal parent teacher conference, as well.
"We chose Good Shepherd because we believed in their mission of inclusion. Our oldest son has special needs and navigating this world can be daunting, but the staff worked diligently with us to create an education plan where he thrived.
The nurturing environment, interactive teaching models and philosophy of care have been tremendous for all three of our children. Their teachers have been warm, welcoming and extremely genuine.
We are also thankful that Good Shepherd invests in meaningful resources. From a lead therapist on staff, to experienced educators and an electronic "my-day" communication system, we feel engaged and connected to the ongoing successes of our kids."
"My daughter was very prepared for elementary school. Her current IEP is only for Physical and Speech thanks to her great education at Good Shepherd. It is also very helpful to have a GSS representative at the transition IEP to transfer information and for support!
I think of Good Shepherd as part of our family. I didn't realize how true this was until the first day of kindergarten. My daughter's bus took her to Good Shepherd after school by mistake. Miss Bethany, Miss Nicole and Nancy Litzau comforted her and even gave her a snack until I had a chance to get there. I can't tell you how much this meant to a worried mom!"
"...One of the twins has cerebral palsy. I wasn't ready to put them in school at 18 months old but it was such a great place and I felt very comfortable with them at GSS. We didn't know a lot about the services out there for Alex, GSS helped us tremendously with that.
Starting this early, I think got them used to the idea of school. One of the twins also had some socializing issues with peers, I believe this helped him and not to mention the therapies he received at GSS as well. They both made friends and really enjoyed going there.
I would definitely recommend starting school at an early age for any child, but especially for a child with special needs. It also helped Tony in understanding other kids with special needs. It's hard being a twin, none the less, being a twin of a special needs brother. GSS was a great start for our boys!"
"My wife and I had a good feeling about Good Shepherd as soon as we walked through the doors. It became apparent that the staff treated the students as if they were family. The dedication we observed made our decision easy and our choice was confirmed when our daughter was comfortable during her first visit.
The staff at Good Shepherd worked with us to incorporate her therapies at the school and the teachers made a special effort to engage my daughter with the other students.
Good Shepherd was the perfect place to help us handle the whirlwind of emotions and concerns associated with parenting and loving a child of special needs."
1170 Timber Run Drive | St. Louis, MO 63146 | 314.469.0606