Tyrell** is a three-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who was born prematurely at 26 weeks. His teen-age parents came to TCDC a year ago in a frantic search for childcare. The childcare center Tyrell was attending gave his parents one week to find alternate care saying, they “were unable to meet his needs”. When they contacted TCDC, they were at their wit’s end and very afraid.

At TCDC, Tyrell’s young parents found the loving care and attention their child needed to succeed. Tyrell’s teachers welcomed and embraced him as well as his parents, and knew just how to approach Tyrell’s individual needs. Because he walks with a walker, is hearing impaired and uses sign language to communicate, Tyrell receives occupational, physical and speech language therapies… care his parents could not have afforded on their own. After one year at TCDC, Tyrell today is thriving in the center’s inclusive environment. His age peers have become his biggest fans, cheering him on, and supporting his efforts. They collectively chant “Ty-rell! Ty-rell!”, as he walks across the classroom with a vibrant smile that radiates pride and confidence. The entire three-year-old community at TCDC, teachers, children and families, have learned sign language and now use it to communicate with Tyrell and each other. Signs are paired with print in the classroom and the hallway.

The TCDC staff (teachers, administrators, Inclusion Specialist, and Family Involvement Specialist) work together to support Tyrell’s parents as they grow in understanding, acceptance and advocacy of their young child’s significant and sometimes overwhelming needs. His parents stay in close contact with the staff, updating them regularly on Tyrell’s growth and changes, as well as their own concerns and questions. With the help and guidance of TCDC, these young parents are learning to navigate the special education system, to support their child, and to meet his evolving needs one day at a time.

This is an example of the impact that TCDC has made on one child and family. All children learn through play, but without ample and varied toys and materials available for children to explore their learning is stifled.  Speedway Children’s Charities funding allowed TCDC to supply all classrooms with an adequate number of developmentally appropriate toys for children to engage in learning through play, and to provide toys with special adaptations for children with disabilities. Speedway Children’s Charities funding enabled TCDC to provide materials Tyrell could use to play, grow and learn alongside his age peers. Guided by nurturing and empathetic teachers, Tyrell and his young parents have started down a path of healing and life-long growth.  Speedway Children’s Charities funding allows TCDC to follow its mission and serve children and families through healing, teaching, worship and play.

The Thompson Child Development Center

**Not his real name