CHATTANOOGA, TN – Teacher’s assistants can play a crucial role in reaching children with developmental delays and other challenges.

For 20 years, Ava Hixson has been making a positive difference at Hixson High School.

She says, ” I’m just a normal Hamilton county employee. My father owned a bus company, and that is when I got involvement with children. It was head start then, and then I went to a daycare, and I ended up here at Hixson High School, which I have loved and have been here for over 20 years.”

Special Education Teacher Maria Reap, says, “Ms. Hixson works in my room, and she works with several of my students who have special needs. She takes them out to their classes and just gives them lots of TLC. But she is tough on them if she needs to be, too.”

Ava explains, “I guess my heart goes out to them and their parents. Because the parents have them 24-7. So, if they can have a safe place for them during the day just to give them a break from it, because it is a lot of hands on, it’s constant with parents, and I think if they have a safe place with safe people to leave their children in care of, that that makes the whole ordeal work out better. There are no two just the same just like most everything there is really no pattern. You just have to come to work with them enough to figure out what their pros and cons are.”

Maria adds,  “We can’t, we couldn’t do our jobs as teachers without people like Ms. Hixson.”

Ava concludes, ” From a hug to when they do get it, but the hugs we can’t do that right now at this time, but they will reach out to you, and you know that you have made an entrance, that you have trained someone and something clicked in there, and that’s always a great reward. It’s something that I think everybody should feel as far as teaching goes.”