Opinion: Never worried about special needs children in Life Skills program, former Potsdam resident says
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 11:15 am

To the Editor:

In response to the Feb. 14-20 Letter to the Editor "Parent Questions Safety Precautions at BOCES" in North Country This Week: In the past I usually thanked the sport teams and their coaches for how they assisted in my son's growth while at Potsdam Central School, but really forgot or just did not even think how the classroom teachers worked with them.

I have the great honor to be the mother of two special needs birth children. Alexander Jay Walters, (2012) and Curt Noble Walters (2014) who attended and went through the Life skills classes with St. Lawrence - Lewis BOCES at Potsdam Central School. Both Alex and Curt are on the Spectrum, and thrived in the setting of those classes.

They both especially enjoyed being in the shop class with David Smith. We were quite aware of the dangers that could be in the class, but the benefits outweighed the dangers by learning how to make things with wood and other materials. I never worried about all that could go wrong, but just enjoyed all the things that went right, with a great teacher, and qualified assistants. I knew it was part of the curriculum that safety would be the upmost part of that classroom.

We, as parents of special needs children, now adults, have to have a ounce of trust and confidence that their children will be safe and secure in whatever environment they are in. We have to faith and trust in those teachers who have had special training to handle that type of student.

I always kept in the back of my mind that what they are learning and being trained in now will only benefit them in their future. If not then the child is being shorted in what they can do, and how can a parent do that to their own child?

Patti Walters

Formerly of Potsdam