Paraprofessional and Published Author at Tooker Avenue

Ms. Thomas Holding Her Book Titled, “Just as They Are.” thumbnail209451

Helping parents navigate through the challenges of having a child with special needs, Schaneick Thomas, who works as a paraprofessional at Tooker Avenue Elementary School, recently published a book titled, “Just as They Are.”

Ms. Thomas is the mother to twin 14-year-olds, both who have been diagnosed with autism and ADHD. After becoming a mother, Thomas made it her mission to educate herself on how to help her two children with special needs. She had a bachelor’s degree in English but headed back to school and received two master’s degrees: one in curriculum and instruction and the other in special education.

“I wanted to understand the language the teachers were speaking about my children,” she said. “I really wanted to be in the thick of it and understand what was happening every day while they were in school.”

Prior to coming to West Babylon, Ms. Thomas ran a tutoring business called Push Me Tutors and also launched a successful nonprofit called Many Babies, which helped parents to advocate for their children with special needs.

Ms. Thomas’ book helps give the big picture of parenting a child with special needs. “I really wanted to share my knowledge but also show the readers some of the emotions – the pain, isolation, jealousy – that come along as well. There’s a range of emotions and everyone navigates those differently.”

She continued, “I wanted people to understand that they are their child’s first educator and to understand that responsibility.” In addition to her book, Thomas published a journal, “Connecting the Pieces.” The journal features writing prompts and helps to peel back the different layers of emotions and what triggers them.

At Tooker Avenue, Ms. Thomas works in a self-contained classroom as a paraprofessional. But, she says, she’s a writer at heart and always wanted to be an author. “The pandemic really catapulted it,” Ms. Thomas said. “I wanted to show people that in light of any adversity, if you have a goal, you can do it. I really want to help someone the way people helped me along the way.”

Date Added: 1/19/2022