My Daughter’s Hero
By Julie Allen,
Voices Board Member

When my daughter was four years old I was pregnant with my third child.   It was a busy time in our household, balancing the needs of my other children and taking care of myself through what turned out to be a high-risk pregnancy. I must confess there is no way I would have been awarded mother of the year back then –– I was struggling just to get dinner on the table and maybe some laundry folded if it was a good day.
During my daughter’s preschool parent-teacher conference her teacher shared with me that she couldn’t always understand my daughter when she spoke.   The teacher didn’t know if my daughter may have been resorting to baby talk because of my pregnancy or if perhaps there was some underlying issue. She didn’t think it was anything major but suggested I mention it to my pediatrician at our next visit.
We were referred to a speech therapist and my daughter tested “borderline” for speech therapy. Fortunately we were blessed with good insurance coverage so we decided to move forward with the therapy. The speech therapist noticed some other “possible issues” during my daughter’s therapy sessions. One thing led to another and we ultimately discovered my daughter has a developmental disability affecting her speech, fine motor and gross motor skills.   She now sees a pediatric neurologist and orthopedist, plus 3 therapists.
We are most fortunate that my daughter has been extremely responsive to her therapies, is thriving and doing well in all areas.   The early detection is the most significant factor for us.   If it weren’t for her preschool teacher, I don’t know when we would have noticed it.   My daughter certainly didn’t receive her parents’ undivided attention when the baby arrived and life got more hectic before the storm finally calmed. I hate to admit it, but we might not have noticed anything for a few more years.
Her preschool teacher is my hero. She was an integral part of child’s life at a time when she needed attention.   She did more than teach – she was an advocate and cheerleader for my daughter. Early detection is critical, whether it is with a physical challenge or an academic one.   I owe a debt of extraordinary gratitude to her.   My child was lucky. She attended a great preschool and had a wonderful, caring teacher.   What about your child? Parents can’t do it alone, and sometimes may not have the expertise. ALL children in Georgia deserve and need quality preschools.

Julie Allen is a current Voices board member and the Past President of the Junior League of Savannah, a Georgia Pre-K Week partner. The Junior League is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

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