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    Each family receiving a diagnosis for their child will have their own unique experience, feelings, and perspective. Below is a letter written by a Seattle Public Schools Parent, reflecting their personal journey:

    Like you, I am a parent of a child with a disability. His specific diagnosis is unimportant here; what matters is that we are sharing an experience with a complex emotional landscape. One that changes the course of our lives, touches our hearts, colors all of our relationships.

    A diagnosis rarely happens in a moment. It unfolds slowly - as small observations, intuitive insights, and comments from others (often unsolicited) start to coalesce into a picture. A picture that disrupts and demands more that we may feel we can give. Then come the short, sharp days when everything we know—but hold at arm’s length—is summarized in a diagnosis, an evaluation, or even a random email. Spelled out in black and white, it suddenly has a weight and significance we are rarely ready for.

    At no time in our lives are we more in need of a village to help raise our child. And yet for most of us, one of the first feelings is a profound sense of being alone. Fortunately, you are not. In Seattle Public Schools more that 7,000 families are traveling a similar path. More than 1,000 District Special Education Teachers, Paraeducators, and related staff choose to come to work each day to support students with disabilities.

    Building your child’s village is not easy. It requires engagement when retreat is easier. It demands whole-heartedness when your heart feels broken. It needs trust when you feel betrayed by the universe. This is hard work—but the benefits, I believe, far outweigh the effort.

    Find a community of parents who understand and support you. Align yourself with people who help you feel healthy, hopeful, and empowered. Make space both for grief and for celebration.

    Discover the ordinary in your extraordinary experience. Through repetition, these acts restore our resilience. They bolster our capacity to care for our children, our partners, our communities, and ourselves. They transform hope from a threat to a companion.

    We parents form a curious sort of family, thrown together by fate. We are passionate, constantly adapting and growing with our experiences. Together we have strength and wisdom. I welcome all of you as partners, ready to transform the world into a more human, flexible, and dignified place for all of our children.

    - Parent of a high school freshman in Seattle Public Schools