John Ochsner (2002)

Disclaimer: The following was transcribed from the Capper Foundation Archives. The choice of words used at the time this was written may not reflect current Capper Foundation inclusive language and views.

John Ochsner (2002)

by Jan Ochsner

In our home we live with the belief that everything happens for a reason. We believe we found Kidlink at the Capper Foundation because it was where our son, John, was meant to be.

John started at Kidlink in the fall of 2001. He loved it from the beginning. He adored the teachers, liked the other kids and was learning every day.

John wasn’t just learning about letters or colors or the way to interact in a group. He was also learning about kids who might get around in a wheelchair instead of on legs or communicate with a computer instead of their voice. It was a gentle lesson that created an acceptance in him that will last a lifetime.

In November of 2001, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It devastated our family, but the staff at Capper didn’t hesitate to learn about the disease of how to help take care of John. I can imagine no other day care facility that would have been as accepting of the new challenge facing John. We knew it was where we were meant to be.

The staff looked for symptoms of John having difficulties, they tested his blood, gave him snacks when needed, and put up with our constant phone calls. John was not made to feel different, because at Capper differences are expected and accepted. The staff listened to our fears and seemed to never pass judgement on how we were handling the situation. They gladly accepted more information about John’s disease. When we felt like minor changes needed to be made, they listened and worked with us to make sure John was in the best possible situation.

Now, we are leaving Kidlink because our family is moving out of town. It feels like John is leaving a second family. He fits in there. They delight in his accomplishments. They laugh at his jokes and smile at his questions and quirky comments. The teachers adore him. He knows it. And his father and I know it.

The Capper Foundation is a gift to the community. It is a gift to the children who go there. They will grow up and spread a feeling of understanding and acceptance. It is one-of-a-kind. Go there. Spend time. Don’t talk. Listen and watch. Look at the children.