31 Days of SMA: Janna Leach

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by Kevin Schaefer |

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Day 16 of 31 Days SMA Topic: Being a Teacher with SMA This is Janna Leach’s story: Hi! I was diagnosed with SMA as an infant. I am currently 36 years old and live in Louisiana! I have never let SMA get in the way of living my life to the fullest. As a young girl, I always wanted to be a teacher. After graduation, I attended LSU to study elementary education. I lived on my own with 24 hour caregivers. It was a job managing multiple caregivers and our schedules, but I made it possible with the help of family and friends! During my time at LSU, I was very involved in my sorority, ZTA! I was one of the first girls to go through sorority recruitment in a wheelchair. The Greek community was very accommodating and made me feel like all the other girls. My first teaching job was a 2nd grade teacher! My school was very accommodating to me. I rearranged the desk so I could easily fit down each row. They provided the technology I needed to teach. Since, I could not physically write on the board, I used a mouse to write and it projected on my smart board. The first day of school, I explained SMA to my students and allowed them to ask any questions. They were very interested in my wheelchair and I told them they were not allowed to touch my controller because it could hurt them. I wanted them to be as comfortable with me as possible. Even though I had an aide, my students always wanted to help me. I would assign them different chores each week, so they could all have a turn to help. A few weeks into the school year, I was just a regular teacher to them! The only thing I didn't like is that I could not sneak in on my students because they could hear my wheelchair! They would say "Hurry up! I hear Miss Janna coming!" Currently, I am tutoring students. I enjoy this because I get to teach one-on-one and in small groups. I love to see and hear my students say "I get it now!" I feel like I have done my job! #SMAAwarenessMonth #SMAAwareness #31daysofsma2020

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