A Determined Mother Returns to School to Help Her Son with Special Needs

Terri Schlader jumping into ice water

As the mother of two children, I know firsthand how overwhelming parenting can be. I can’t even imagine how much more challenging parenthood would be with a child with special needs. That’s why I am in awe of Terri Schlader.

When Terri’s son Brayden was born with Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, Down syndrome, cognitive delays, macular scarring, and low muscle tone, she asked herself, “What do you do to take care of kids with special needs? Because they don’t come with an instruction manual. We live in a rural area with thirteen thousand people in our community. Our largest city, which has the hospitals, extra education, and resources for kids with special needs, is two hours away. So I had to do something to help Brayden get through school and through life.”

Terri decided to return to school to earn a master’s degree in special education so that she could help Brayden and other kids in similar situations, but she couldn’t find a local program that offered a postgraduate special education degree. So she enrolled in the online program at Grand Canyon University.

Learning online was a transition for Terri, who attended a traditional college for her undergraduate degree. But online tools such as MyMathLabs helped her learn the course materials through videos and practice problems. “When you’re going to school online,” Terri explained, “you rely on things like videos because you don’t have a teacher in the classroom showing you what to do.” MyMathLab was so helpful that Terri continued to use it after she finished her math classes to prepare for the Praxis® test.

Terri passed the test and is currently working as a social-learning classroom teacher. Her passion and determination to help students with special needs inspires me.

To learn more about Terri Schlader’s experience, read her success story.