Wood’s son Jamaal—now 28 years old—has autism and is non-verbal. When Jamaal was 17, Wood had been struggling to find an appropriate school to fit his special needs. Fortunately, she discovered St. Mary’s School for the Deaf and there she found Anna Caci.
Caci, a teacher at St. Mary’s, worked with Jamaal from the beginning. She used her expert understanding of sign language to find a way for him to better communicate with the world. He learned basic signs like "please," "more," and "help." These signs, along with a communication board, helped Jamaal to participate in the classroom where Caci described him as a “spark.”
Teacher-student relationships like this are a perfect model for what the Year of the Teacher celebrates.