Maui Special Needs Youth With Big Hearts

All children can learnHowever, they taught me much more!

“…With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 KJV

Embraced by our new church family in Maui when we arrived in July, we settled into the parsonage with our two sons.  Wasting no time, I pursued employment by the Hawaii Department of Education. All positions had been filled for the upcoming school year in my areas of elementary and social studies so I offered to teach in special education, if possible.  I was honored to accept full-time employment of that with Lahainaluna High School.

Previously, I had subbed in special education in a full-time position where I met Louie and Robbie.  Louie was my energetic, vivacious young man who knew how to proceed through the locker-lined halls by taking a step, then banging both feet up on the lockers to the left, with another step before hurtling his feet to those on the right, back and forth, as he proceeded.  Robbie was dealing with traumatic issues at home and would have severe meltdowns at school. To calm him down in a chair, I would kneel behind him and just wrap my arms around while I soothingly spoke to him. These precious boys had engraved themselves on my heart.

Now with Cody, David, Becky and Mary Jane along with Ulu, my aide, the school year began.  All four had different mental challenges.  We enjoyed spending time with each other in a setting very unique  for instruction–a fully-equipped kitchen, a living room area plus the classroom .  Life skills were taught such as operating the washer, dryer and stove plus basic computer skills. Ulu, my aide, was also involved with public transportation and through her, our four students had access to the resorts in kitchen areas and with other supporting vocations there that might accommodate   interests after graduation.  Cody continued in regular gym classes.  Becky loved pecking away on the keyboard so was accommodated by being enrolled in a regular education typing class.

We continued the involvement with Special Olympics and were flown to the final competition in Honolulu to compete.  Ulu, Larry (my husband) and I plus the four students (with compliments of the state) took a fascinating trip. Our only expense of $18 a piece, flew us out of the Lahaina airport to the Big Island. Then we proceeded to the Atlantis Submarine to view fantastic aquatic life.  Land, sky and ocean travel were completed in one school day!

The uniqueness of that class with all their strengths and joys of learning has taught me that God designed each in such a splendid way. Their beauty of strength and character exhibited tenacity and joy in their individual journeys.

God, your heart is entwined within each heart of special needs youth.  Their radiance is manifested in smiles, in simple pleasures, in demonstrating their awesome personality in their individual journeys. In this fast-paced world, let me learn to manifest the simplicity of contentment wherever life finds me!



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