My Daughter Inspired Me to Go Back to School

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by Jackie Babiarz |

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A couple days after my daughter Cammy turned 3, she went straight from early intervention to school. I had prepared her for the transition, but I was not fully prepared. I told Cammy over and over, “It’ll be great. You’re ready.” But I knew I was trying to convince myself more than her. 

After all, I was handing my child with Rett syndrome over to a staff who only knew her on paper.

Nervous as I was, I had one big assurance: Cammy’s teacher had started teaching special education at Jefferson Early Childhood Center because of her own daughter’s amazing experience there. This made me less worried about Cammy’s care.

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Cammy and I didn’t have to be ready, because the staff was.

That was almost a decade ago. Since then, I have been inspired by every teacher, therapist, aide, and staff member who has worked with my daughter, as well as the countless other children who have gone through Jefferson, Bower Elementary, and Monroe Middle School.

back to school | Rett Syndrome News | Cammy sits on the front porch of her house on her first day of preschool, March 13, 2012

Cammy, then 3, sits on her front porch awaiting her first day of preschool on March 13, 2012. (Photo by Jackie Babiarz)

Most of all, I have been inspired by Cammy.

I was a high school physical education (PE) teacher before I had children. For the past few years, I’ve been a substitute teacher in our district, which gives me some flexibility with Cammy’s schedule and needs.

I have subbed for every level and every subject, but I’m living my best life while teaching PE and working with kiddos with special needs. The impact I can have on young lives gives me a jolt.

back to school | Rett Syndrome News | Jacie Babiarz gets a kiss on the cheek from her daughter, Ryan, before her first day of education to receive her special education teacher license

Jackie Babiarz gets a kiss on the cheek from her daughter Ryan on her first day back to school to get her special education teacher license. (Photo by Bill Babiarz)

For that reason, I decided to go back to school last fall to earn my Learning Behavior Specialist I endorsement, which is a license to teach special education. I’ll complete the program this spring, and I couldn’t be more excited. Although, having spent 12 years as a caretaker for my daughter, I feel like I’d qualify for a PhD!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll have the privilege of going back to Jefferson, where Cammy’s educational journey began, and working under her first teacher. I am thrilled to soak up as much knowledge as I can from these 3-to-5-year-olds and the top-notch staff at Jefferson.

I can’t wait to pay it forward. I can’t wait to ease another mom’s fears by telling her, “My daughter attended Jefferson. I became a special education teacher because of her amazing experience here.” 

I will forever be inspired by my daughter.

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Note: Rett Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Rett Syndrome News, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Rett syndrome.

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