Opening Doors

Sometimes you hear an adult talk about a teacher or an adult that changed their life. I know that Mrs. Preto is that for Sabrina.

Change is difficult.

In three days, we will say goodbye to Sabrina’s current teacher, Mrs. Preto.  To say we’ve been blessed this year with an amazing teacher would be an understatement. Along with Sabrina’s Instructional Assistant, Sabrina has had a loving and positive classroom team that believes in her, as well as a warm, rich classroom environment where she has thrived.

Until now, I haven’t allowed myself to really feel the sadness about saying goodbye and, instead, I’ve thrown myself into the actual planning for the transition.

Effective routines and practices have been put into place for Sabrina this year.  Routines are so important for her feeling of safety, and she can’t learn without that.  Although I know that in her new class there will be a whole new set of routines and activities, I want to do all that I can to make sure that the core of what we’ve learned this year can be carried over.

I’ve created a Portfolio for Sabrina that includes an “About Me” document, Goals @ A Glance, a document with some sign language that is effective for her need for visuals, and examples of modifications and peer supports that have been used.  I have started researching which books she may read next year and trying to find modifications for those so that she can participate.  I’ve started thinking about social opportunities for Sabrina over the summer, so that we can nurture those friendships over the break.

Three days.  It’s hitting me now.

Sometimes you hear an adult talk about a teacher or an adult that changed their life.  I know that Mrs. Preto is that for Sabrina.

I have fought hard for others to believe in Sabrina and to break those barriers of limits, and this year Mrs. Preto has helped ME believe even deeper in Sabrina and in what she can accomplish in life.  It’s very easy to underestimate Sabrina, I know.  To hear Mrs. Preto tell me, after getting to know Sabrina, that she has no limits for her has been powerful and has strengthened my own resolve that Sabrina will do great things.  She models respect and patience, and has been a huge force in helping Sabrina develop wonderful relationships at school.

And really, I know that a door isn’t closing.  Mrs. Preto will continue to stay in our lives.  She will be among the first to hear about Sabrina’s accomplishments.

Yes, transitions are hard.  But I must believe that what this year was meant to teach both me and Sabrina has been fulfilled for now and that we must move on and grow.

“The doors will be opened to those who are bold enough to knock.”
-Tony Gaskins

– Nelia Nunes

Photo of blog author.Nelia Nunes is a mom, advocate, and event planner. Her passion for advocating for inclusion and for those with disabilities was sparked by her 8 year old daughter, Sabrina. She blogs at She has a BA in Psychology from University of San Francisco and lives in the Sacramento, CA area with her husband and 2 daughters. You can also visit her at or @InclusionSabrin