Shannon, our 16 year old daughter, lives in a world where she has experienced life to the fullest but it hasn’t happened by chance. While Shannon is dependent on others for all of her care, she is happy and enjoys having people around her.
When Shannon approached school age, we feared that she would be on her own. Would the staff and other children know how to interact with this quiet child? On the playground, would they even notice she was there?
My husband, Rob and I became proactive. We believed that if the other students didn’t know anything about her, they may be shy about approaching her. We started by introducing Shannon at a meeting with the staff, concentrating on all the things that Shannon could do. We developed a brochure and a short video filled with happy faces. The meetings continued through each and every classroom until the whole school knew the girl with the blond ponytail (who just happened to be in a wheelchair).
Shannon was not just accepted, she became an instant celebrity. People stopped in the hall to say hi. She was invited to Birthday parties and sleepovers. She had play dates and went to movies. We continued introducing her to every class each year throughout elementary school and again through her middle school years.
High school, however, has been much more difficult. We’ve continued to introduce her to students but the social networking has been far more challenging.
My husband and I think that Shannon’s time to join PLAN has come. Shannon had made amazing connections with a close-knit group of friends when she was young but now, at 16, she’s not so much part of the social scene in the halls and there haven’t been social invitations outside of school for some time. We would love to capture the friends that still share a special bond with our daughter and give them the opportunity to come together in a more structured, but social environment. We feel PLAN has the tools and expertise to allow our daughter to experience a positive change in her high school social life.
Shared by Shannon’s mom, Kathy Bromley