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empathizes with both perspectives. He said being able to see things from both sides is


only one of the gifts that Noah has given their family. This trait has also helped Watkins to relate to parents of students with disabilities on a deeper level. He explained that special education routes are tem- peramental. Sometimes drivers must wait a little longer at the bus stop for the student to come out, or drivers might have to stop during the route to address an issue. He said if a bus team gets impatient waiting for a student at a stop and leaves, that could negatively impact the rest of the day for that student and family. A missed school bus could result in parents not going


to work, which in return risks a disaster of a day, as students, especially those on the autism spectrum, need their routine. He said he was able to learn these traits through Noah. Watkins recalled several instances as a parent that he had to make the hard decision of making


the bus wait due to an unforeseen incident his son had, versus putting his son on the bus anyways in an un- comfortable state. “Those kinds of scenarios and seeing how they play out, helped me to then say to people, ‘Hey, I have a little bit of understanding about how this works,’” Watkins explained. “Because, I’ve lived through this. And so, I think that has helped me to better understand [parents], particularly in the situations of special needs. “But it also just made me a better person and family,”


Watkins continued. “I mean [my family and I] reflect, sometimes on this stuff … on how we’re all better people because of our interactions with Noah and how we’ve learned how to help. You know, some of the joys in his life are so simple. It helps us to appreciate simpler [moments.]” He said he often finds whenever the district brings in


an autism specialist or someone with experience working with emotional disabilities,that they teach about how to


CONGRATULATIONS TODD WATKINS FOR KEEPING MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS ALWAYS N


FROM CUMMINS SALES AND SERVICE


www.stnonline.com 47


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