Students & Parents

Daniel’s Day at SCHI

Take a peek into the day of a SCHI student.

As the bus door squeaks open in front of SCHI, I hear my teacher's cheerful voice! "Dani, good morning!" She lifts me off the bus and I feel a burst of sunshine. It warms my face and warms my heart. I'm here!

On the way to the nurse’s station, we stop off at the fishtank. I can’t see very well, but if I lean against the glass I can the flashes of colors as the fishies swim by. Then, my favorite nurse greets me and 1,2,3 I take my medication.

My friends are already in the classroom when I come in. I walk in and they call my name in excitement. "Daniel's here!"

I sit in a wooden chair that my physical therapist built just for me. My teacher begins to sing our welcome song and I try to join in. There's a special screen just for me that helps me see some of the pictures as she reads us a story.

Next is play time and my teacher takes out a big box of cars. Just last year, I didn't know how to play with cars—or with anything. I would get angry and bang my head in frustration. But now my O.T. taught me how to drive the cars up and down, up and down the ramp just like my brothers.

Today I have aquatic therapy. I never was able to go in a pool until they built this special one for me and my friends. The water helps me relax so my muscles don't spasm and get stiff like they usually do.

I’ve worked up an appetite, so I go to the lunchroom and see my friend Avi. While we wait to eat, he tells me all about the puppy that he’s friends with in animal therapy. Avi gets very angry sometimes, but he says the puppy is his best friend.

The cook in SCHI makes me a special menu with foods that I can eat. My teacher sits near me and patiently helps me eat. I have a special big spoon and a bowl that suctions to the table, so my food doesn't spill all over the place.

After lunch, we go to the art room. I can't see the beautiful colorful walls but there's lots I can do there. There's sand, fingerpaint, and clay that I learned to play with. Today I am making a shaker with beads inside.

Soon we bundle up to go play in the playground! SCHI's playground is built especially for me — even my friend in a wheelchair can go on. There's a soft floor and special equipment so I don't get hurt. I can even go on a swing!

The bus is here. Time to go! Our teachers sing our special goodbye song. I can't wait to come back tomorrow.

Every student has a hidden intelligence.
Our job is to find it. 

The joy of our work at SCHI is our students. It’s reaching out to them, helping them reach their goals, watching their determination as they push themselves to continue improving every day. Our pride is our students, and these are some of the reasons why: 

Olivia was about 9 years old at the time. She typically wore a harness to walk, but the SCHI staff were trying to encourage her to walk independently. She was standing on her own but didn’t yet have the confidence to walk. One day, this little girl—without her harness—took her very first steps. And it’s not just her success that’s inspiring—it’s the way she inspired her peers. Watching her take her first steps, her classroom erupted in cheers. All the teachers—there are usually several per class—and all the students were shouting and applauding, so proud to see their student and friend make such an accomplishment. 

Jeremy was born missing some limbs and a hand. When he was an infant, his parents were told by his doctor, probably as a joke, that he would never be a concert pianist. Yet, when he came to SCHI, he expressed interest in music. We provided him with Music Therapy and over the course of many months, his therapist slowly taught him how to play the keyboard. At that year’s school dinner, he played for an audience of hundreds of proud staff members and parents. 

Sara was nonverbal and extremely aggressive. Our incredibly dedicated teachers were wise enough to recognize that her aggression was simply result of frustration. They worked with her, helping her communicate to ease that frustration. They began teaching her sign language, and as she learned, she became progressively less aggressive. Now that she could tell us what it was that she wanted, her world completely changed.


A note of “Thanks” to SCHI- why, that sounds nice,
When in reality, a book would not suffice.
You’ve given our son Josh such a well-rounded education,
And for that you’ve earned our deepest appreciation.

Can you try to imagine the following scenario,
Where you ask for more and more and the answer is never “No”,
Time is never a factor, and neither are logistics,
Because in SCHI, you aim to be rid of “statistics”.

Each teacher and therapist really aims to please,
Their devotion and dedication never seems to cease.
It’s no wonder that going to SCHI is such a joy,
For our dearest, adorable ten year old boy.

Is there a way that we can ever pay back,
The place that makes sure that nothing will lack.
And so, to you, for your wonderful attitude,
We certainly owe a huge debt of gratitude.

Dear Mrs. Z,

I have no words to express the endless thanks I owe you for what you’ve done for Ruthie, and thereby my whole family.

Ruthie began the year as a closed, difficult child. I remember describing her to the team members at our Board of Education meeting last year, saying what a happy toddler she had been, and how I felt I had lost her. Now that Ruthie has gone through a year at SCHI, she is once again a happy and playful child. My sincere appreciation goes to you for guiding her so patiently. You created a warm and loving atmosphere that made Ruthie want to go to school.

Family and friends who knew Ruthie before she went to SCHI are amazed at how much she has developed in so short a time. My neighbors ’children used to exclude her and mock her. Since she started going to SCHI, her social status has been raised. Just yesterday, one of the children on the block told me, “I love Ruthie! She’s the cutest!

Ruthie learns so much from your classes. She is fascinated by your lessons and carries over much of what she learns to our house. You make each lesson real and down to earth for the children.

Ruthie’s birthday party was a delight for me. You gave me the opportunity to see first-hand how comfortable and well liked she is in her class, how beautifully she can interact with other children, and how very pleasant the daily atmosphere is in the classroom.

We were blessed with you, such a kind, caring, and devoted teacher for Ruthie. You made Ruthie a happy and calm child, thereby making me a happier and calmer mother. I am no longer struggling with hourly tantrums, impossible demands, frustration, confusion and guilt. My entire family is benefitting tremendously from this.

Thank you, Mrs. Z., You have given me back my Ruthie.

With heartfelt gratitude and admiration,
Ruthie’s Mommy

We are so grateful that our daughter is in SCHI. Herprogress since she has started school is amazing. Skills that we had been working on at home without success suddenly became a reality.

I cried on her birthday this year. My daughter is three years old and was not walking yet. I began to wonder if she would ever walk.

Within two weeks of starting school, she was walking. She now also eats with utensils all the time and follows directions.

Her vocabulary is expanding almost daily. Gone are the nightly baths because food gets in her hair when she does the sign for drink wrong. Gone is the frustration at not knowing what she wants. Gone are the temper tantrums because she can’t make her needs and wants known. Now we can finally get to see the beautiful little girl that has been hiding all these years.

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for our daughter,
Very Grateful Parents

Dear Mrs. M,

Sammy loves SCHI. Every weekend, when I send my five-year-old off to attend weekend extra-help school, Sammy begs me to go to school too. He asks, “Why can’t I go to school?” (And it’s thanks to you that he can even express that!)

It’s only November, and Sammy has already learnt and developed so much. He can play, speak, and express his feelings.

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at what makes Sammy’s environment so conducive to growth. I brought Sammy to school late, and you came to greet him. I had expected a formal greeting, a quick smile, a business-like rush to the classroom. I thought that Sammy would cling to me.

Instead, her enormous smile, her warmth, and your obvious delight at seeing Sammy made him so happy – it really astounded me. You took the time to tell us both how happy you were to see him and how much you cared for him.

You can’t imagine the warm feeling I had handing Sammy over to such caring hands. Iwas nearly in tears. This was just a glimpse of the warmth that emanates from the SCHI School. Your kind words to Sammy and to me, a mere two-minute exchange, warmed me for the rest of the day. Even now, two days later, I am warmed enough to write this note.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Sammy’s Mommy

Dear SCHI,

As I sit down to pen this letter, my eyes well with tears. I am overcome with a feeling of gratitude. How can I ever repay you for all that you have done for us in the last few months? Daniel just began going to SCHI this year, and we already see the difference. His behavior, speech and skills have improved tremendously! I am amazed at the level of care shown by the teachers and staff at SCHI. I feel like they have become a part of our family. SCHI, you are filling a tremendous need. Thank you for all that you do!

With much appreciation,

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