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In September 2011, my youngest son, Benjamin, was born. After a tough pregnancy and many specialist consultations, he came into the world perfectly healthy and weighing 7 pounds and 5 ounces. After several normal well checks, his doctor started to notice that Benjamin was failing to grow appropriately. He was no longer on the chart for his height and weight. I was devastated, but his doctor’s positive approach was reassuring. After almost a year of testing with numerous specialty doctors, I resigned myself to acknowledge that we may never have an answer. I began to refocus on Benjamin’s development instead of a diagnosis. He began twice weekly physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions. His progress was slow. I couldn’t help but to think something more had to be done.

During the day, Benjamin attended the daycare, where I worked as an assistant director. The school was a small, family-owned daycare that catered to parents with nontraditional work hours. I had worked there for almost seven years and was completely comfortable. After speaking with some friends, I began to realize that maybe the daycare where Benjamin and I were over half of the day, was not the best environment for a child with developmental delays. The classrooms were underequipped with learning materials, the teachers were overwhelmed with many children, and there was a complete absence of learning-based activities. I sought advice from our trusted family doctor. She told me that I should think about exploring other care options for Benjamin. I knew that I wanted to be close to him during the day. So I began looking for alternatives for both of us. One of Benjamin’s therapists recommended that I inquire for care at the neighboring Kids ‘R’ Kids. She said that she visited several students in that program, and their curriculum supported developmental growth very well. After thinking on it for a few weeks, I called and scheduled a time for a tour.

Discovering the NEED

After touring Kids ‘R’ Kids, I realized that Benjamin NEEDED to attend that preschool. He NEEDED the lower teacher to student ratio; he NEEDED the healthy, fresh meals; he NEEDED the hug first, then teach philosophy; he NEEDED the curriculum that supported the whole child; and he NEEDED the care and love that the staff clearly provided to each child.

A month later, Benjamin began his new school at Kids ‘R’ Kids, and I began a new job as an infant teacher. I had made the decision to accept a non-management position because my son’s growth and development were more important than waiting for an opening as an administrator. I was overwhelmed almost immediately with the positive changes in Benjamin. I loved seeing him arrive to school happy to see his teachers and friends. Benjamin’s personality began to shine. He was a fun- loving, slightly mischievous two-year-old. His therapists began to visit Kids ‘R’ Kids. They noticed considerable advancement in his development. I was grateful for the communication between his teachers and therapists. The teachers were interested in using the techniques his therapists recommended. Finally, Benjamin had a team in place that cared about him. He began to develop stronger core and hand muscles. Benjamin began speaking in three-to-four-word sentences with proper syntax. He loved outdoor exploration and create together activities. My heart was at peace; we had finally found a place where Benjamin thrived. A year later, Benjamin no longer needed physical or occupational therapy, and two years after that he no longer needed speech therapy. Benjamin attended Kids ‘R’ Kids until he went to kindergarten. During that time, he grew socially, academically, and physically. I will always remember his teachers and the support the school provided for us.

Benjamin is now in fifth grade and doing wonderfully. He is on or above grade level in all his areas of study. He enjoys Tae Kwan Do and has earned a brown belt. To look at him now, you could never believe that he once had a significant developmental delay. Overjoyed and grateful, I, without a doubt, can attribute a large part of his success to Kids ‘R’ Kids. I currently work for the Kids ‘R’ Kids Franchise Support Center and am proud to embrace all of our schools in the way my family has been supported from our very first day.