Skip to main content

Do You Wonder How That Special Needs Kid Affects Yours In the Classroom? (2 minute read)

This was a conversation that I had with one of my fellow mom friends about a classmate in her daughter's class.  There are so many lessons children can teach us, if we only take the time to listen and to understand.  The beauty and pureness in their souls are amazing, and my hope for the world is  that light to never become dimmed. 

My daughter has a child in her kindergarten class that hardly speaks, struggles to understand the rules of kindergarten, really struggles to follow them, cannot use scissors properly, often runs out of the classroom, or can be found sitting in the middle of the classroom or hall putting on his shoes for 15 minutes as he struggles to tie them perfectly symmetrically. Someone has to be with him almost every minute of the day.  How will this child impact my daughter’s education?  Will she struggle to learn to read this year?  How can she learn to add or subtract? 

I volunteer when I have time in the library helping her class with the library lesson of the day and picking out books.  What I see is that child running around as a parent helper or the librarian runs to catch him before he escapes into the hall.  How can the other children learn in this environment?  Later at lunch, he sits putting all the green pieces together in a puzzle while the other children eat their lunch and socialize with each other.  Suddenly my daughter is very still as a small hand reaches up and touches her hair ever so softly.  The teacher’s aid quickly comes over, says “no” to the boy and gently guides him back to his puzzle explaining to me that he likes hair.

I ask my daughter that night about this boy.  “Is your teacher with him all the time?”

“No, she replies, “but someone is.”

“What do you think of him?” I ask.    

“I think he is a really good drawerer (translation: He is very good at drawing.) He can write his name in bubble letters and block letters! Now I can too because I copy what he does, but I'm not as good at it as he is, yet.  He can sort colors of things really fast, and he really likes green. He is really nice because he never says anything mean to anyone.” 

“Are there kids that are mean?”

“Yes.  Cody* always makes fun of you when you lose.  That boy loves to win! Kelly* yells at you if you don’t put everything away perfectly.  If you miss a sight word or answer a question wrong Sarah* laughs at you, and that makes me not want to try to answer a question.”  I am surprised to hear how this affects her because those kids seem so, I don’t know…. normal?  I am surprised that their "normal" behavior has such a much more negative impact on her day.

I thought back on what I did see at the library that day.  I did see a kid making a break for it, but I also saw a group of kids that didn’t really notice.  They kept right on reading their book.  I also saw a classmate get up and get a new puzzle for this boy because he knew that one was his favorite. I saw child patiently wait for him to tie his shoes without being asked to, so he wouldn't walk without a buddy.

I saw a group of kids accept a child who wasn’t like them.  Did their eyes about pop out of their head the first time he ran from the room?  You bet they did.  Did all those kids begin running from the room, too?  No, they accepted his differences as his differences, and they accept his talents as his talents.  I have a child that sees what this boy can do, not what he can’t, won’t or doesn’t do.  She sees his intrinsic value, not what he may or may not take from her in terms of time and book learning. 

She will have plenty of time to learn to read.  She will learn to add and subtract.  I can do some flash cards with her and read a book with her (as I should be doing anyway). 

But this boy, this beautiful boy has taught her lessons in acceptance, valuing other’s talents, seeing what they can do versus what they cannot do or do differently, having compassion for his struggles that I can only pray she will also apply to herself as well as others as she grows up and navigates her way through life.  Lessons I know, but have all too often forgotten somehow in the hustle and bustle of my own life.

I hope that she doesn’t become what we adults view as the “normal” kids.  Focused on winning, not slowing down when someone else can’t keep up, making fun of those who get things “wrong” because we lack self-esteem ourselves, and making fun of, or judging or excluding others because they are not like us or in order to make ourselves look better to our peers (notice I didn’t say "feel better" because it never does, does it?). 

I must pay attention and guard against being the one that subtly tells her through my own actions, inactions or acceptance of "normal" that normal is what you should strive to be.  No, I want her to be abnormal in her compassion, acceptance and inclusion of others who are differently abled, and I want her to be brave enough to embrace her own not normal and not be ashamed of it.

I am so grateful for the opportunity she had this year with this child, and I am ever so grateful for the reminder from both of them to choose to see in others their gifts versus their “flaws”.

*Names, of course, have been changed.


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review of "Beast: The Beginning (Hate Story, #1) by Mary Catherine Gebhard

Hmmmm... I have mixed feelings concerning this book. I really liked the premise and the set up. I liked that the Beast was a bastard, and I liked that Frankie had a backbone. The mafia parts seemed well done to me. The writing was good. The story was good. The characters on their own were well fleshed out. This is soo close to being a really good book. However, the pacing is pretty erratic. It starts out pretty great, then it gets really repetitive, the end goes by in a blur. I guess the author was trying to really show how f*cked up their relationship was, but it fell a little short for me. The Beast was a bastard to her, but he was the same kind of bastard to her for about 75% of the book. His feelings for her stayed the same and hers for him stayed the same for most of the book until the last 15% or so when suddenly they both simultaneously realized they loved each other. I get it was a hate story, but I got whiplash from how fast we went from hate to love, and how or why did

7 Things People Do on Facebook that Drive Me Crazy

Ahhh, Facebook. FB is great for sharing photos, moments, memories, complaints, bad experiences, triumphs, big and small announcements, and everything in between. Lately, however, I've found myself becoming more and more irritated as I scroll through it, and here are my biggest pet peeves. 1. People don't consider their audience. You have 842 "friends" consisting of everyone you can track down that you went to school with (Elementary, Middle HS and College), your kids' friends parents or anyone you have talked to at your kid's school, their teachers, family, neighbors, work colleagues (past and present), church members, and the crew hat makes your cappuccino at Starbucks. No one has been left out, and therein lies the problem. Everyone sees everything, and only about 16 of your "friends" care about any given post (psst, that's just 2%). The rest of us have to sift through all the crap you post that is not of interest or relevant to get to

If You Want to Feel More Empowered Stop Doing This

Do you feel trapped in a situation? Helpless? Like there is nothing you can do? There is. Make a decision and own it. Stop bitching about it. Stop saying you have no choice. Stop using your situation or the people around you as an excuse. Stop saying, "It is what it is" and letting the cards fall where they may. You know what kind of people don't have decision making power? Victims.  If you want to be a victim, keep saying things like "but what can I do?" after a major bitch session while shrugging your shoulders. When you pretend like you have no choice, you are abdicating responsibility for your life, and turning it over to someone or something else. That is the opposite of empowerment (and adulthood), and it will slowly erode your self-respect and confidence in yourself. I'm not saying that people and circumstances don't impact or influence your choices.  If you have children, that will impact your options.  Maybe you can't go live