Family grateful for Henrico teacher’s life-changing work with daughter with autism

Family grateful for Henrico teacher’s life-changing work with daughter with autism

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - One family is thanking a Henrico County special education teacher for the life-changing work she has done with their daughter.

Rebecca Lueders works with third, fourth and fifth-grade children with autism at Tuckahoe Elementary School.

Samantha Johnson enrolled her daughter, Midnight, at Tuckahoe Elementary School about two years ago.

“I was absolutely nervous. Every child with autism is different and just worrying about how she would adjust, but she did so well,” Johnson said.

Johnson attributes that growth in her daughter to her former teacher, Rebecca Lueders.

"I saw immediate changes in Midnight upon entering into Rebecca’s classroom,” Johnson said.

When Midnight first got to Tuckahoe Elementary School, her mother says she was exhibiting aggressive behaviors.

“It was very difficult on us as a family, I was in tears most day, out of concern for Midnight,” Johnson said.

But now, Johnson says they're in a much better place.

“Oh an amazing place, her confidence is up, herself injurious behavior is almost non-existent now and she did transition into a new classroom at the beginning of the year. I think that’s because of how much Rebecca worked with her, it made that transition a lot easier,” Johnson said.

Inside the classroom, Rebecca quickly formed a connection with Midnight - addressing her needs day in and day out.

“Sometimes people say, ‘I don’t know how you do it’ and I say ‘I don’t know how you don’t do it,’” says Lueders.

On her birthday, Lueders made Midnight feel special by giving her a handmade birthday card and a little present from her favorite character, “My Little Pony.”

It takes a special kind of teacher to adjust to each child individually. The Johnson family is undeniably thankful for a teacher like Rebecca Lueders. Midnight is heading in the right direction and it’s only up from here.

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