Two-year-old Taymarious and three-year-old Tayzon are on the autism spectrum. Family members noticed some delays early on in Tayzon.
"He was not talking. I couldn't take him in public, he would fall down. It was hard," said Tayla Vivians.
Mom Tayla Vivians was referred to AEA 267. She began working with teacher Kay Meaney through a program called Early ACCESS.
It's part of the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It's an early identification and intervention system that works with children ages birth to three.
"They get the information about a child who has some red flags or some questions or perhaps something not quite right," said Kay Meaney.
If there's a delay, service is started for the child. For about two years, Kay Meaney visited Tayzon at home for a few hours a week.
Just more than a year ago he'd improved enough to come to school at Castle Hill in Waterloo.
"If it wasn't for her, Tayzon wouldn't be where he is today," said Tayla Vivians.
Vivians said she's noticed big improvements in both boys.
"I can't explain it because she went above and beyond for both my boys, especially Tayzon. Anybody else, they probably wouldn't have done it, and she did it," said Vivians.
Kay Meaney has worked in education for more than 30 years. Previously, she was a first and second grade teacher and a building principal before moving into the area of special education.
"It's rewarding to be a partner with the parents and teaching their children and getting them where they need to be," said Kay Meaney.
Meaney uses a work-play technique where she teaches kids how to learn with the structure of activity. She said the best part of her job is when the light bulb goes on for her students.
"They match that color or they put that puzzle piece and you see that in their eyes. Very rewarding, and our goal is always to get them out of special education. We feel we're very successful when that happens," said Meaney.
Tayla Vivians can't express how Kay Meaney has changed her life and the lives of her boys.
"I'm just grateful for Ms. Kay," said Vivians.
Grateful for a caring teacher who takes the time to nurture and develop children with special needs.
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