Those who know Jake know the effect he has on others. There is something intangible that happens to people who take the time to get to know my crazy-haired boy with an awesome sense of humor. The ‘something’ is often hard to describe but Amir, Kaylum’s dad, did a great job describing how the friendship between Jacob and Kaylum has affected his family.
I am so proud of my son and grateful to Amir for taking the time to write this heartfelt letter to the Toronto District School Board in support of Jacob’s continued attendance at Elkhorn Public School, the school I wrote about in an earlier posting.
Last year my son Kaylum met a little boy named Jacob at his school (Elkhorn P.S.). From the first day Kaylum and Jacob met they became instant friends. They spent every Friday afternoon together, working on arts and crafts, playing music and reading. My son used to come home and tell me how much fun he had with Jacob.
One day while picking up my son at school, my son introduced me to Jacob. To my amazement Jacob was in a wheelchair. Here’s the funny thing, all this time when my son came home from school he never mentioned that Jacob was in a wheelchair. As I sat there and watched these two little boys interact I was amazed at how well they got along. They made each other laugh, planned for the next time they would see each other and talk about activities they would do. My son was very different around Jacob, he was gentle, caring, and thought of all the different ways he could make Jacob laugh. I had never seen my son behave in such an unselfish way before.
Meeting Jacob has changed not only Kaylum’s life but my daughters as well. Soon after Jacob and Kaylum met and built this amazing bond, my daughter decided that she wanted to make friends with some of the other special needs students in her school. With the help of Cheryl, the special needs teacher, she integrated an arts and crafts program. She created a flyer, a sign up sheet, researched all the crafts, came up with a five week plan and wrote what she was going to say in the morning announcements. This was her first time making an announcement. She had been asked several times before but was always too afraid. This time around she wrote her own announcements and stood tall while announcing. She managed to sign up six children from grade 3 (her goal) and started her program. This program integrated grade three students with the special needs class.
Both my children have learned skills that they would not have learned at such an early age. My son now wants to do volunteer work with special needs children and my daughter has learned to be more confident, secure and wants to now teach children when she grows up. The impact that the special needs class has had on my children is profound and I thank Elkhorn P.S. for introducing my children to Jacob and the rest of the kids in the program.