This was supposed to be a story of success about my daughter’s participation on the school soccer team. And in part, it was a success. To the credit of the school soccer coach, assistant teacher, and the athletic department, my daughter had the time of her life while being allowed to play soccer. She was encouraged and accepted and felt so happy to be a part of the larger school community.

Participating in her school’s athletic program not only gave her the physical exercise she needed, but gave her the emotional boost she needed to be a part of something and to have peers to socialize and be buddies with.

However, my daughter’s disabilities got in the way. She was suspended from school, due to inappropriate behaviors directly related to her disabilities, and once again she, and I, were disappointed and disheartened.

So, instead of getting to watch her proudly running around on the soccer field while being rooted on by her team, she and I sat at home while the team played their last game, and I got to watch her cry.

To my daughter’s credit, she has spent many years learning appropriate behaviors for certain social situations. Sometimes it’s two steps forward, other times, two steps back.

Fortunately for our family, TAPA is a place where we are always accepted. It provides her with a weekly dose of the emotional support and camaraderie that she so sorely needs, and I will be forever grateful for that.

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