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Expanding Potential Through Early Intervention

Written By Whitney Bell, EC-3 Teacher

Teacher leading a lesson in the classroom.

After graduating college with a bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and ample experience working with children, I was eager to put my education into action with the students at ACCESS. Little did I know that this place would be the formative framework for my career with special needs.

Soon after joining ACCESS, I fell in love with everything I saw. There is such intentionality in the way we teach, care for, and walk alongside each student on their unique path. Over the years, I have enjoyed learning about different strategies to calm a child or help them learn to regulate. I love working closely with my team of therapists to find ways to help smooth transitions for students or find different techniques of teaching a concept that will benefit a struggling child. This team approach truly sets us apart, and it provides a comprehensive network of support and guidance for the students and their families.

After five and a half years, I left ACCESS to raise my children at home during their early years. Eventually, I was drawn back to ACCESS as it had my heart the entire time. Throughout the year, we get to watch the children grow in stature, confidence, skill, responsibility, and sense of teamwork. To witness this progress and change in a child is a privilege, and having the opportunity to be a part of their story – be a small part of the person they will become – is both humbling and challenging. It is our job to see that they are properly nurtured but also pushed to discover new capabilities, and finding that balance is the key to forward progress.

As we journey down each little path with our students, we always take the time to stop and celebrate every milestone reached or new skill gained, for it is the little victories that piece together to create their puzzle of life. We may teach them how to shine, but it is their light – their inner strength, persistence, hard work, personality, and youthful spirit – that shines in its own unique way, for they each bring to this world things that no one else can. In the grand scheme, our contribution is small, and each day has its own challenge. In the end, this is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, and I am grateful to be part of this team that changes lives every day