Having an amazing teacher is truly a blessing for both children and parents. But it’s a dream of every parent with a child who has disabilities to have a teacher who does everything possible to make sure the child is involved like everyone else.
This teacher carried her student who has cerebral palsy, during a class hike.
Source: Good Morning America
Teacher Helma Wardennar, whose students call her Ms. Helma, carried 10-year-old Maggie Vazquez on her back while hiking.
When Ms. Helma’s class planned an overnight camping trip, it was clear that it wasn’t even an option for little Maggie to join since she has cerebral palsy and uses a walker.
Wardenaar said that neither a traditional wheelchair was an option, while she explained, “I looked into renting a pony, but those aren’t allowed on the pedestrian path,” the teacher told “Good Morning America.”
“I considered accepting a fine if we would be caught, but figured that it would set a bad example.”
Determined to find a solution so Maggie could come, the teacher reached out to big brands but no luck. She then turned to Facebook, although, initially she contacted the outdoors company REI and set a meeting with one employ she knows as Greg, at the store in Chicago. Wardenaar said they spent an hour looking for options but with no luck in sight.
However, two weeks later Greg had some good news, he found the “FreeLoader” backpack that Wardenaar would ultimately carry Maggie in for the hike.
The backpack cost $300 and Maggie was not so comfortable in it, but still, “… she loved the trip. We saw deer footprints, butterflies, birds, etc. Maggie sang along while I hiked. She wrote an original song about the camp and how much fun the time together is.”, said the teacher.
Her mom, Michelle Vazquez told GMA that ‘Singing is one of the many things Maggie enjoys”
“She has a funny and quirky sense of humor,”
“She loves to work on fine detailed art coloring books and has started some independent drawing. She loves music. She loves being outside, but the motor challenges make it difficult.”
Maggie’s teacher said, “We think we may need to work on stirrups to elevate her feet, but that will be a work in progress,”
As for Maggie, her teacher said that she “is valued in the class,”
“Some accommodations for students with a disability can be challenging. We sometimes have to admit: We don’t know what to do anymore! Communication with the parent is key at that moment.”
But Maggie’s mom and her teacher are not giving up.
Ms. Wardenaar wrote on her Facebook page, “Thank you, Michelle Vazquez, for being an amazing mom. It’s a pleasure working with you. Together we always find solutions!”
And Michelle Vazquez is very grateful for her daughter’s teacher too.
She told GMA, “Ms. Helma really took this on personally and spent a lot of time tracking down this piece of equipment for Maggie”.
“I really want to make a difference,”
And for her, a way of making a difference is helping Maggie.