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Miriam community helps families feel at home

When Anneliese Flynn thinks of Miriam, she thinks about the supportive community she and her family have found here.

Her son, Danny, developed severe anxiety in kindergarten. Autism made social skills a challenge for Danny, and over the course of his year in kindergarten at a public school, he became less interested in interacting with peers and teachers. He was upset each night before going to bed, and then again in the morning before school.

Anneliese said that because Danny was performing well academically, and he was not disruptive in the classroom, the school did not think they needed a plan to address his challenges.

It was frustrating to see her son struggle, and she knew she needed a better solution. Her sister knew a family who had a good experience at Miriam, so Anneliese reached out.

“Danny’s anxiety completely resolved when he made the change to Miriam School.”

Anneliese said, “We expected it to take weeks to months before seeing improvement – however, there was dramatic improvement in his anxiety immediately after joining Ms. Candi’s classroom. He loved going to school at Miriam each day.”

Anneliese loves how the Miriam community is so accepting of differences.

“Miriam has an entire community of teachers and staff dedicated to the students. The entire staff recognizes and honors the goodness of human differences, and offers acceptance and affirmation of the child’s true self,” she said.

She has seen the teachers and therapists truly make a big difference for Danny, now in fourth grade.

“Their dedication to these kids inspires me to be a better person.”

Anneliese said they have seen ongoing, sustained gains in social skills during Danny’s years at Miriam. The flexible curriculum has been beneficial, and the small class sizes allow Miriam staff to gain a deep understanding of Danny, and to constantly reassess his individualized learning plan (ILP) goals.

“I was delighted to see efforts even at recess to address these skills,” she said.

The parent/guardian community at Miriam has been helpful for Anneliese and her husband, as well, as she knows she can rely on other parents for help and support if she needs it.

Danny loves many things about Miriam School – including show and tells, Pizza Friday, book fairs and other special activities – and he recommends the school to everyone. Anneliese recommends it to other parents, as well.

“Miriam School has given Danny the skills, confidence and independence to reach his goals. Acceptance into Miriam’s close-knit community allowed Danny to feel comfortable being himself,” Anneliese said. “There is simply no other place like it; the school is truly a special place!”