Children have provided us with some of the best questions about T, and today was no exception. We took him to the playground at his elementary school this afternoon because the city park where we usually go was packed with other families celebrating Mother's Day. There were some other children playing there, who greeted us upon our arrival. One of T's favorite things to do at a playground is climb the stairs all the way up to the tip-top of the curvy slide, sit at the top, and enjoy the view. Only occasionally will he slide down, but today was not one of the days he was feeling it. Thankfully, the other children were very busy with other parts of the jungle gym and it really didn't matter how long T sat up there. After a while, one of the girls came over our way and went up to the top of the same slide, a basketball in hand. She put it down, and T efficiently pushed it down the slide. We weren't sure if that was what she intended – probably not – but we retrieved it for her and she slid down after T made room for her. She chatted with us in that curious way a child on a playground will, asking when his birthday was. It turned out that she and T have the same birth month, which she thought was cool. Turns out she is just a few weeks older than T & goes to this same school. I told her that he comes here also on Friday afternoons. She was quiet for a moment, and then asked quite simply: "Does he have issues?" Rob & I grinned, and said that yes, he does have issues. I told her that he is in Mrs. E's class (the self-contained special education classroom), and her honest & straightforward reply was "Cool. Her class comes to our class sometimes and hangs out with us."
"Cool." It is just fine with her that he is different. I have to say that kids impress the hell out of me sometimes. It really shouldn't surprise me – I mean, the kids in this school grow up with the most impacted special education students in their own school, coming to their classrooms as they are able, and it is NORMAL for them. This question from this young girl follows the great question I got from another little boy at this school: "Is he artistic?" And again, when I said yes (with a grin), his response was "Cool. I have a friend who is artistic."
Moments like this make me want him at this school more frequently than one half day a week. I'm SO thankful that this school will be ready for him when he is ready for it, and I can't wait.
I honestly can't remember any interactions I had with any special education students in my public school career. Where were they? It certainly was a different time.