The first day of Kindergarten is a scary time for parents. Our son Elliot has Down Syndrome and faced a long journey to be ready for that big day. But thanks to Rochester Childfirst Network, we’re confident he’s ready to take that next big step.
Literally taking any steps was a big obstacle for Elliot. He began at RCN when he was 18 months old but he didn’t walk until he was two and a half. His motor skills were delayed, even for a child with Down Syndrome. Not long after his arrival at RCN, the team began a loving yet challenging routine for Elliot. At times, they really pushed him hard; looking back, I’m glad they did. Elliot is walking, running and engaged in the “Soccer Shots” program. RCN bent over backwards to give Elliot the support he needed, and he’s now playing soccer on his own and with friends.
Sometimes it’s those simple things that are the most meaningful. Elliot has moderate hearing loss in one ear and we were worried he might never learn to talk. Being in an integrated classroom with typically developing peers and great teachers pushed him to develop his communication skills so that he was able to learn, get involved, and interact with friends. Yes, his classmates know there’s something different about Elliot, but they’ve embraced him as they would any friend. Last winter, Elliot was invited to five birthday parties! Little things that you could easily take for granted, like playing soccer with friends or being invited to birthday parties, have made Elliot’s life richer. We’re lucky the staff at RCN goes out of the way to partner with parents like me to help Elliot build the skills he needs to grow and succeed.
Yes, Elliot is different; however, his experiences at RCN aren’t. Talk to other RCN parents and you’ll hear stories like ours. Hugs in the classrooms. High-fives in the hallway. Caring staff. Personalized attention. RCN provides an outstanding model for early education that puts children first. Those wonderful educators are the heart and soul of RCN. That’s why it’s so important to contribute to the Annual Children’s Fund.
Whether it’s paying educators, setting up parent workshops, or training outside childcare providers that serve over 2,500 children in our community, I know our gifts are doing great things to help children like Elliot. The Annual Children’s Fund supports high quality programming for children of all backgrounds and abilities in our community.
Your contribution keeps RCN’s programs vital, growing, nurturing and inclusive. Please join me in giving a gift to the Annual Children’s Fund this year.
-Recent RCN Parent