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Local students go above and beyond for special needs classmate

Local students go above and beyond for special needs classmate

Caitlin Moody sent us an email about the concerns she had over sending her daughter to school for the first time. But, then she met the other students and invited us to meet the classmates who, on their own, took a fellow student under their wings.

Welcome to the Pre-K ESE class at Holm Elementary School.

This group of students is exceptional in more ways than one.

Sylvia Hemme is the Deaf Hard of Hearing teacher, "They are deaf or hard of hearing where they've just been diagnosed and just received their hearing aids."

Alyssa, affectionately called "the little princess", is the most medically complex of the students. She is paralyzed from the waist down and she has upper mobility challenges as well.

It is easy to understand her mother's fears about Alyssa going to school for the first time, but they were fears unfounded.

Ms. Hemme said her fellow students are eager to help, "Leo sits next to her and so he will reach over and help her sign."

Ayden is always eager to make sure that things are within Alyssa's reach. Like the others, he's careful to make sure that she isn't left out.

Then there's Tarrance. He drew an immediate connection to Alyssa; kindred souls of sorts. When he first came to this class, he was in a wheelchair, too.

"He recognized that he had been there and he took her on," Ms. Hemme said. "Until she got acclimated, he was by her side, he was bringing puzzles to her. He was patting her and loving her and just staying by her side.

The care and support that the boys show for Alyssa and each other is fostered by the teaching team.

Hemme said they do a lot of celebrating in this classroom, "They will clap for each other and wave and Alyssa will do her little dance when she's done something that she knows is good."

Mom is no longer worried knowing that the "little princess" is getting a little help from her shining knights; her classmates, her friends.

Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by Nemours Children's Specialty Care.

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