I will be honest and say that before I had my son, I didn't really know what teaching assistants did.
I got the obligatory thank you gifts but that was it.
They were just another adult in the classroom just tidying up after the teacher.
Wow, was I wrong.
Teacher assistants are the glue of the classroom.
My son can't deal with music classes, they are too loud, they are too chaotic and just something he can not handle.
So while the teacher is teaching the other children, the teaching assistant spends her time not only helping the other children get their instruments and doing her other duties but she spends time with my son 1 to 1, doing breathing exercises and distraction techniques to calm him down and making him feel comfortable.
The teaching assistant knows my son, she can be the other side of the room and see him clenching his fists and knows that something has happened and that she needs to act now before my son gets into a full blown meltdown.
She knows how to direct him to his calm down area without making it feel like a punishment.
My son's teaching assistant has also handled negative comments and actions towards my son in such a calm and professional way.
She has seen the comments some children have made to my son, and have gone above and beyond to make not only my son feel better, but also have explained and taught the other children about autism and about why my son acts in a certain way, and has taught them to celebrate his differences and shown them how he is actually an amazing child.
Yes, teaching assistants help the teacher but it goes far beyond just cleaning and taking children to the toilet.
My son would be lost without his teaching assistant.
He wouldn't have settled into school and wouldn't feel so comfortable in the school surroundings without his teacher assistant.
I honestly feel a lot more comfortable with my son going to school now he has such a fantastic person looking out for him and fighting his corner when I can not be there.
To me, they are a school superhero!