A few weeks ago…..
After writing a note to the Principal letting her know what amazing stuff was happening on the bus, I keep having the staff that work in the multiple exceptionality room (special resource or special needs classroom) come up and speak with me. Yesterday when we were taking Johnny’s class to the school skating excursion, John was coming with his EA to go skating too. When she had a moment she came over to me and she was a bit emotional when she tried to talk to me about the letter. I’ve spoken to her before because she helps out in my daughters class and we would laugh and joke but this time she had something special to say to me. She wanted to tell me that she got the email and in fact all the teachers did. She wanted me to know that it really meant a lot to them because they work with him and they see the changes every day. They wanted me to know how wonderful it is to know that someone outside of school is noticing it too and took the time to tell the principal.
I confess I felt relieved then that I made the right choice and to advocate for this little boy. Today I was at a school assembly, and another EA who has worked with John for a long time remembers when it was still very difficult to work with him stopped to talk to me. She told me she got the email and she was so happy and just wanted to thank me for taking the time to write to the Principal and share this positive information. As the school assembly occurred , I looked out and watched all the Autistic students take in the school gathering in their way and watched teachers and EA’s try and get the kids to show that they are listening and sit still. So many times as parents and other well meaning professionals are always correcting and showing what is expected instead of enjoying basking in the positive moments. I also wondered why can’t the Autistic kids just process the assembly in their own way but that is a post for another day.
Back to the bus….what makes me happy every morning especially on the mornings that were full of challenges getting the kids ready for school is when we step on to the bus. I remind Johnny and Princess to stop and say hi to John and Michael who are excitedly trying to interact. I use the moment to remind Johnny to make sure he says hi to both Autistic boys at the front and now enjoy the time being a mentor to someone else.
Its my turn now as I grab John’s hand, try to look him in the eye and say “hello” and he makes a word approximation gives me an extra hand squishes. Then as I was buckling my kids up I could feel someone pull my jacket and giggle and laugh again I would say “John” and laugh and that made him laugh too. Then I made sure I gave him extra special good good-bye squeezing his hand and say “so happy to you this morning.”
For so long I felt invisible but deep down I knew I was not to him.
I say this because I know there’s a lot of parents out there that are struggling day today can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel this little boy is should be in grade 3 that the other children but right now it’s in a special ed class. His SLP that works with him she knows that he’s a special boy when she says that she means he’s got a lot to give and a lot to do but not everybody sees this the only see a difficult challenging little boy Who is having lots of meltdowns when you challenge and push them out of his comfort zone
But as another mother who is raising a special needs child told me this morning summed it up simply that now he is ready. I remember a long time ago an early child educator told me that children develop at their own pace and we have to learn to be patient but that’s hard when there are development charts, grades in schools, and expectations. She would remind me that each child is divinely unique and we need to accept who they are as they grow up. This little boy is showing everyone that he may not be doing what is expected for 8 years old and grade 3 but he is being himself and that is what matters.