My streak of special ed teachers continued this summer with a 25-year-old in her third year teaching in the Bronx. Meghan Warager went sailing with her parents on the York River and insisted that her school is not in the “war zone” of South Bronx but closer to the Whitestone Bridge. She teaches the very young, some of whom are severely autistic, and yet she remains optimistic.
Her dad, Dave Warager is proud but concerned. “It’s not the worst part of town, South Bronx. The students come from all socio-economic levels. But some of them can’t talk and they can’t feed themselves. They’re still in diapers. It’s very difficult.”
Meghan admitted, “I had a challenging summer school, with eight children. With one particular boy, success was defined as making eye contact. He couldn’t focus on anything, not even a toy. He just stared out there. I had to teach him to use a toy.”
Her mom, Laurel Warager, teaches math to conventional students. I asked her if there are more children today who are severely autistic than when we were growing up. “Yes, and it isn’t just because of more diagnoses. I don’t know why. In fact, they may be under-diagnosed. I’ve had children who were behavior challenged but went undiagnosed.”
Mehgan’s students are severely handicapped. “I think God made special provision for the harder cases because they’re so much cuter than the others. I love them all.”