Although no loving parent begrudges the amount of work involved in raising a child, a special child, as we know, requires a sometimes superhuman effort. Rising to the challenges of finding ever-new resources of patience, imagination, perspective, and good humor is daunting, but doable; the stone wall we run into is made up of physical exhaustion and the limitations of our non-professional abilities to provide meaningful, or therapeutic, pastimes for Noah.
His near-total lack of self-help skills requires 24-hour-a-day duty: watching his every movement while he is awake, and listening with one ear open while he sleeps – not always soundly.The totality of his care usually preempts most of our personal needs and other responsibilities, making it difficult to arrange food-shopping trips, household chores, an occasional night out, and, of course, employment.
In the seven years Noah was at Camphill Special School, he flowered. Which is to say that they took our uncommunicative, heavily drugged, totally helpless, near-vegetative-state child and turned him into an aware, responsive, interactive, joyful, loving human being whom we now recognize as a person distinct from us, moving independently along the pathways of his destiny. It was a result that no one – least of all his doctors – could have (or would have) predicted.
Camphill Special School is a five-fold blessing: for our dear Noah, for his brother Timothy, for Barbara, for me, and for our family as a unit. Through their loving care of Noah, the people of Camphill Special School gave all four of us happiness through our ability to recognize ourselves as a truly functional family. The wide range of educational, therapeutic, cultural, and social activities in which he participated allowed Noah to metamorphose from his cocoon and to develop an awareness of himself as a functioning person within their loving and responsive greater community. It probably is not too much of an exaggeration to say that Camphill Special School gave Noah his life.